ESA BIC Bavaria alumnus runfun developing the sport robot RUFUS presented their product at the ISPO 2018 in Munich, the world’s biggest multi-segment fair for sports articles and -fashion. Over the past four years, the startup has developed the intelligent running trainer for runners in cooperation with the Sport University Cologne.
RUFUS has a similar function compared to a treadmill: You can use it to do a systematic running workout and improve your fitness and performance. Unlike a treadmill, RUFUS is not stuck in one place. RUFUS is a small electrically driven and automatically controlled vehicle, which runs like a pacemaker in front of the runners and this gives the ideal running speed. In doing so, RUFUS can execute complete training plans developed by experienced trainers or training scientists and, for example, prepare for a 10km run or half marathon.
By directly specifying the speed, RUFUS avoids a disadvantage that most so-called fitness trackers have: They measure all conceivable body signals and warn runners when they are no longer in the target range. They do not show them properly how fast they should run. Unfortunately, more than two-thirds of all runners train in a way that it does not help their health and fitness, but even harms them. It is no accident that more than half of all used fitness trackers cause frustration after a few months.
RUFUS does not shy away from bumpy forest and meadow paths and potholes. By stabilising the direction using sensors that are also used in the field of mobile robotics, RUFUS drives straight out like being on rails. At the moment, RUFUS still steers around a bend via a small remote control. Soon, there will also be an autopilot for RUFUS, who assists the runners independently along any routes.
runfun joined the ESA BIC Bavaria family in February 2015.
The ESA BIC Bavaria seeks entrepreneurs using space technologies in a non-space environment. That does not mean rocket science, but applies to multiple application fields such as navigation and positioning, communications techniques, Earth observation, materials, processes, signals or robotics.
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