RUFUS – a robotics running coach

RUFUS is an electrically powered, automatically guided, three-wheeled vehicle that drives ahead of runners like a pacesetter and sets the optimal speed at which they should train. RUFUS measures runners’ heart rates by means of a monitor worn on the body. A controller then compares this information with a set value and accelerates or decelerates the vehicle in order to minimise the difference, thus enabling runners to achieve an optimal heart rate and maximise the benefits of their training.


The market of wearable fitness and health devices, which seem to offer an ultimate solution to the problem that we intend to solve, currently experiences unprecedented growth rates of 40% and more per year.

A great deal of these devices comes from start-ups in Silicon Valley, which are downright flooded with capital from investors.

At the same time the first critical comments appear in renowned technology blogs such as regarding the effectiveness of such devices. They measure nearly every biosignal that can be measured in a non-invasive manner. The “message” that is conveyed to the customer is that measuring one’s bio-signal is equal to improving one’s health.

Apparently this is an illusion. Measuring does not improve one’s health.

At best the devices increase the remorse of their users but otherwise they leave him/her alone.

Our solution does not only measure the users’ biosignals. The novelty and disruptive character of our solution lies in the fact that it offers not only a new gadget, but a complete “turnkey” solution, namely real professional running training. It has been designed to overcome what we consider the three main barriers, which prevent people, particularly elderly people or people with health issues, from taking up sports activities: the effort to get started, the fear of health problems, the frustration about missing progress.

RUFUS is designed for outdoor activities and it is the first of its kind for outdoor activities not only in Europe but worldwide. To quote a phrase from the proposer’s guidelines: “something new from Europe”.

Video: “RUFUS – your personal running coach” on YouTube

Check the healthcare robotics gallery for further images.

Acknowledgements and Contact:
Dr. Erwin Prassler
Locomotec GmbH
Bergiusstr. 15
86199 Augsburg
Phone: +49 821 455 159-701
Fax: +49 821 455 159-700
Mobile: +49 176 179 625-01