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PUMA's BeatBot Provides Automated Motivation for Runners

And it's able to keep pace with Usain Bolt
Image via: Fast Company

Image via: Fast Company

For some runners, competing against a faster athlete is the best way to train. Enter the PUMA BeatBot, developed by a NASA robotics engineer, a trio of MIT students and Puma's ad agency, J. Walter Thompson New York. Resembling a shoe box on wheels, the device is akin to a racing mechanical rabbit for humans. It operates by scanning lines on the track using an array of nine IR sensors, making over 100 adjustments per second to stay on course. It has LED lights and dual GoPro cameras, and it's able to match Usain Bolt's 2009 foot-speed world record of 44.6 KPH (27.7 MPH). Pricing isn't available, but it's expensive enough that the BeatBot is only offered to PUMA-sponsored teams and athletes.