August 2005 Archives
Researchers at MIT are working on the development of a robot dog that watches what you eat and how much you exercise, and that motivates you to stay on track with your heath program. The robot is a modified Sony Aibo dog that monitors your pedometer and food diary wirelessly, so it knows if you're walking enough and eating right. The system is being designed by Cynthia Breazeal and Cory Kidd at the MIT Media Lab, who have also written a brief paper on the idea. When you ask the robot, "how am I doing," it responds by acting happy, sad or somewhere in between based on, well, how well you're doing with your weight management program. If you have met your exercise and nutritional goals, the robot will wag his tail, play music and jump up and down. The concept will be rolled out September 11 at the UbiComp conference on 11 September in Tokyo, Japan, and will begin a study on 30 overweight Boston residents in the spring.
Surfing the Internet and playing video games are just two more sedentary activities in modern life that contribute to ill health, muscle weakness and even obesity -- but not for people who buy a new exercise bicycle. A company called NeXfit Technologies Inc. introduced recently a home fitness bike that connects to computers and gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation. Controls on the handlebars move your PC's mouse pointer or control the action on video games. (via MedGadget)
Insurance companies are jumping on the healthier-kids bandwagon, with programs specifically targeted at dumping junk food, eating fruits and vegetables and getting kids to exercise more.
The slow stretches and meditations of yoga don't burn calories like a run on the treadmill. But a new study suggests it might help people keep weight off in middle age. Researchers found that overweight people in their 50s who regularly practiced yoga lost about five pounds over 10 years, while a group in the same age range gained about 13 1/2 pounds over the same period. Middle-aged people of normal weight generally put on pounds over 10 years, but those who did yoga gained less weight than those who didn't practice yoga.