This robot exercise coach is available round-the-clock

SINGAPORE - Seniors at an activity centre can now exercise any time they want, thanks to a robot designed by Ngee Ann Poly students.

The robot, named Xuan, features a tablet with an animated face on top of a plastic structure. Its neck, arms and wrists are able to fully mimic human movements.

It is supposed to act as an exercise coach for the 40 senior citizens who frequent the Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centre at Mei Ling Street.

Xuan can give instructions on 15 simple arm exercises focusing on flexibility and circulation, such as raising one's hands above the head before lowering them.

At the same time, it will also perform actions that the elderly can follow and mimic.Written instructions will also flash on an LCD screen on its chest.

Madam Ang Kwee Eng, 74, who comes by the centre every day, said she finds the exercises "refreshing".

"The actions are slow and easy to do, and it's good to be moving about, or else my bones will be stiff," she said in Mandarin.

Xuan has been at the activity centre since December, undergoing trials and test sessions with the senior citizens. It is now available for them to use.

"Now the elderly don't have to wait for scheduled exercise sessions," said Mr Goh Boo Han, the executive director for Lions Befrienders. "They can approach any of the staff to start the robot and exercise whenever they want."