While most sportswear companies are trying to up their game by branching out in apparel, hardware or phone apps, German brand Puma has taken a different direction by implementing its first running robot – the Beatbot.

According to Fast Company, the robot follows lines around a track at any pace the runner desires. It can even match Usain Bolt’s 2009 fast-speed world record of 44.6Km/h.

This device was created by Puma’s advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson New York, in collaboration with a NASA robotics engineer and a group of MIT students. “We created the first raceable tech tool, Beatbot, which helps professional runners improve their performance in real time,” said Adem Patrick, Puma’s global director for marketing and brand management.

For the Beatbot to work, runners simply need to input the distance they want to cover and the speed they want to go at. It uses 9 infra-red sensors to follow the line on a track while wheel rotations are monitored to keep track of speed and distance. The Beatbot is equipped with bright LED lights so that you can see it in your peripheral vision, and has dual GoPro cameras at the front and the rear so that footage can be reviewed after the race.

However, don’t get too excited just yet, because the Beatbot will only be available for Puma’s sponsored teams and athletes… for now, at least.


This article was kindly contributed by Sharon Mizzi.