Health chatbot

What is the best health chatbot? Inbenta puts four to the test

What is the best health chatbot to improve your fitness? Inbenta's staff decided to spend a week testing out four of them to find out which works best.

What if I told you the best and fastest way to lose weight did not involve stressful spin classes, disgusting diet shakes or giving up your most comforting (but calorific) foods? Instead, you simply had to download a health chatbot, follow its instructions and soon the pounds would start shedding off you.

Perhaps it is not as simple as that but a number of chatbots have sprung up promising to help improve your overall health. This is where the folks at Inbenta stepped in. We spent a week giving four of the chatbots their own artificial intelligence workout. We already know the best chatbots can reduce company costs, but can they reduce your waistline?

Fitcircle

What it does:

The app for those who do not have time to exercise. Fitcircle offers five-minute workouts for you to get in shape and stay on time for the things in life that matter.

Jordi’s thoughts:

I like how the health chatbot instantly offered me options for diet and exercise tips when I first opened it. I decided to check out the five-minute workout option first and it gave me a list of different options depending on what I was hoping to achieve – yoga, weight loss, weight gain, etc.

I clicked on the yoga option and the bot instantly offered me various workouts for different ailments, which I found interesting. I never knew that yoga could improve digestion, acidity and help avoid arthritis! It then gave me photos and videos of a number of poses with a brief description of its benefits. Some of the poses made me realize why I had never tried yoga previously!

The problem I had was Fitcircle offered me so many options that I felt it would take me 15 minutes just to understand and get them right, which kind of misses the point of a 5-minute workout!

The verdict:

Overall, I thought it was a very useful bot which is perfect for providing new types of workouts, especially if you are balancing a busy schedule. Though I think I’ll give the yoga a miss, thanks!

Gymbot

What it does:

You can log details of your workouts quickly without having to tap on multiple different options.

Joe’s thoughts:

I’m a bit of a fitness freak whose idea of fun is ensuring my blood glucose is at the perfect level to the nearest millimole. Therefore, a bot to help me track my workouts is far more exciting for me than one which provides companionship or could save the world from Skynet.

What I liked about the Gymbot is the ease in which you can add your most recent workouts. For example, I simply had to type in “leg raises 10/4” and it recognized that I did ten reps of leg raises in four sets.

The problem was that I was unable to compare my previous workouts easily to provide added motivation and analyze where I can improve. It also did not recognize “press-ups” – perhaps the most basic gym exercise there is.

The verdict:

If you are looking for something that is going to tell you exactly how much body fat you burned in your workout then the Gymbot is not for you. But if you want a basic health chatbot to record what you’ve done quickly then it is a viable option.

Forksy

What it does:

Forksy aims to track what you’re eating and offer advice about which foods to keep and which to cut out of your diet.

Frank’s thoughts:

I was a bit taken aback when Forksy immediately recommended a personal trainer for me – I thought it would at least let me enter what I’ve eaten before it did that! It also said that I should consume 3,497 calories a day…looks like I will have to increase my intake!

There were some impressive things about it though. For example, it was able to recognize pictures of foods I took, such as bread and water (chewing gum it struggled with) and even gave some interesting advice about how to cut back on some of them.

It also knew foods that I misspelled – mozzarella is a tricky one at the best of times. In addition, it gave the option of asking for a time to remind you to log what you had eaten.

The verdict:

Forksy is a useful tool for tracking what you eat each day and making you aware of what you can cut down on. However, it can be quite arduous listing all the ingredients that were inside your Chinese takeaway.

Whole Foods Bot

What it does:

You can send emojis of healthy foods to help make the best recipes for your taste buds and your health.

Diego’s thoughts:

I thought it was a great app for offering alternative, healthy recipes when you have a few leftover ingredients in the cupboard. For example, I put in “chicken, peppers, mushrooms” and it gave me a chicken and mushroom fettuccine which was very good.

It was also able to recognize vegetable emojis such as tomatoes or onions, although when I put a hot dog it decided to interpret it as grilled oysters! Perhaps it deliberately ignores the unhealthier food emojis which might actually be a good thing!

The verdict:

A great way to find new and healthy recipes and also a chance to discover a new way to mix ingredients.

Let us know of a great health chatbot you might have come across by getting in touch on Twitter @inbenta. Meanwhile, we’re off to eat some cake – just don’t tell Forksy!

Inbenta utilizes its patented natural language processing and +11 years of research & development to create interactive chatbots with an industry leading +90% self-service rate.

Companies around the world including Ticketmaster UK utilize the InbentaBot to maintain a personal service for their customers while reducing support tickets.

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