Nike AirBuddy Is One Designer’s Answer to Exercising Without a Partner

Nike AirBuddy Concept 12 photos
Photo: Cheolhee Lee
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The worldwide health crisis has forced most people to rethink the way they go about their daily activities. One industry and activity that has been greatly affected has been sports. To help bring sporting into a new era, one designer seeks to incorporate drones into your future workout.
Cheolhee Lee, a designer from Daegu, South Korea, has come up with an interesting solution to today’s lack of a workout partner, the Nike AirBuddy. But before you go off and start calling Nike asking about how much this trinket is going to cost you, don’t waste your time as I must sadly inform you that this drone is nothing more than a concept, at least for the time being. Oh, and Nike had nothing to do with this one, it’s a personal project.

Now, when you think of exercise and a drone thrown into the mix, you might feel that there isn’t much that it could be doing for you. Not at all; the level of exploration Lee went through with the AirBuddy is quite extensive, even designing a web page layout that could be ready to go in minutes, if Nike is the one making the call this time.

Like most other drone designs used for leisure and play purposes, the AirBuddy is constructed on a basic four-arm design with a main body, and just like other drones, the body is where components like the battery, cameras, and sensors are housed. The AirBuddy also includes easy to remove and attach propeller arms in case any get damaged during activities.

Nike AirBuddy Concept
Photo: Cheolhee Lee
The front of the drone includes a strip of LED lights meant to keep true to Nike aesthetics and it can illuminate the user’s path. Pretty neat considering running at night is quite nice, except if you trip on a crack in the asphalt or a root sticking out of the ground.

A camera is also equipped in order to scan surroundings and monitor the user. With this last bit of hardware, the AirBuddy really shows off what it can do. Using the camera interface, the drone is able to monitor the user by analyzing heat loss, water loss, fatigue, and even informs you of these changes in your physiology via an app.

Because the drone is to be used in sporting activities, the ability to carry it with you is essential. To do that, the UAV is equipped with a carrying strap that attaches to the body and can easily be carried like a gym bag. Once in flight, the strap retracts as to offer an aerodynamic surface free of any chance of snagging on a tree branch. Also on the underside of the drone, is the battery case, brandishing the Nike logo for the whole world to see who is helping you stay in such great shape.

Nike AirBuddy Concept
Photo: Cheolhee Lee
One thing the designer doesn’t mention is whether the drone will be able to help you create a better workout plan. If you can program it to help you push your limits, then I feel it won’t be long until Nike really does hit the market with something like this.

Some industries already use drones to help keep athletes on edge and chasing faster, stronger, and better performance; such is the case in some downhill MTB competitions. Companies like Red Bull readily use drones to spot some of their athletes and activities, although, they’re usually used for filming, and not so much monitoring.

On the other hand, due to the worldwide health crisis, government authorities have begun testing drones that detect body temperatures as an early warning system against viruses and germs. It won’t be long now until your running buddy will be detecting your body temperature, heart rate, sweat loss, and probably even electrolyte balance.

However, I do have one concern with this idea. Where’s the human interaction? Where are the group runs or skate sessions? Where are the laughs? Where is the community?
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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