Applied Informatics Group

Personal Robot Trainer

We investigate how the embodiment and feedback of a social robots as well as the personalization of a body weight workout affect the user's motivation to do sports.


Diseases of affluence, like obesity, are one of the major challenges in the 21th century. People tend to eat unhealthy and do less sportive activities. Governments try to counter these developments with funded projects. However, those approaches do not yet come to fruition. People lack of time or enthusiasm to exercise regularly. This opens the focus for new approaches to engage and motivate people to work out every day with enthusiasm and goal orientation. Technological advances in the consumer market like smartphone applications or exergaming (Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect) show great potential for changing exercising habits. After all, a limiting factor of current studies is the novelty effect.


Therefore, research is needed which systematically investigates the different factors that shape and establish long-term relationships between robots and humans. In my work I want to focus on the aspects of feedback, adaption and preference learning for socially assistive robots (SAR) that are important for long-term interaction. To examine these after novelty effects wear off. I will create an application scenario where users are instructed by a social robot, namely Nao, to do a repeated body weight workout. The main goal for the adpation process is to find the prefered exercises and workout intensity for each participant during interaction. Thus, my research project will intersect with three main topics in HRI: socially assistance, long-term interaction and machine learning techniques for adaption and personalization.

Research Questions

The central research questions of this project is how and if a social robot can boost the user's motivation to exercise in the long-term. Therefore several secondary issues have to be investigated:

  • How does the presence of a robot effects the motivation?
  • How can motivation feedback provided by the robot help to user to train longer?
  • What effects does the embodiment have on the impression of the robot?
  • How can the system adapt to the preferences online?

Recent Best Paper/Poster Awards

Goal Babbling of Acoustic-Articulatory Models with Adaptive Exploration Noise
Philippsen A, Reinhart F, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EpiRob) 


Are you talking to me? Improving the robustness of dialogue systems in a multi party HRI scenario by incorporating gaze direction and lip movement of attendees
Richter V, Carlmeyer B, Lier F, Meyer zu Borgsen S, Kummert F, Wachsmuth S, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Human-agent Interaction (HAI) 


"Look at Me!": Self-Interruptions as Attention Booster?
Carlmeyer B, Schlangen D, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Human Agent Interaction (HAI)


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