Chapter 72 — Social Robotics

Overview of Autom: A robotic health coach for weight management

This video presents an overview of Autom, a robot designed to serve as a personal coach for weight management during a longitudinal study. Fifteen robots were deployed over a period of two months and were compared to two other conditions: A computer coach with the same dialog (but no physical or social embodiment) and a paper log (standard of care). The primary question the study addressed was long-term usage and engagement as that is the most critical to keeping weight off. The hypothesis (verified by the longitudinal study) is that the physical-social embodiment makes a positive difference in people's sustained engagement, perception of their working alliance, and social support provided by the robot (than the other two interventions). People were more engaged with the robot than the other two interventions, and the emotional bond was notable in the robot modality and much less so in the other two interventions.
Cynthia Breazeal
Personal Robots Group, MIT Media Lab