Robot nursery school teachers? Roland Piquepaille’s Technology Trends reports on an experiment at a UC-San Diego child care center, where “two robots are attending nursery school to teach songs, colors and shapes to one- and two-year old children.”
QRIO (for “Quest for Curiosity”) from Sony, and RUBI (for “Robot Using Bayesian Inference”), developed at the Machine Perception Laboratory of UCSD, are there to study the uses of interactive computers for early childhood education. “RUBI is a three foot tall, pleasantly plump robot with a head and two arms. It stands on four non-motorized rubber wheels for moving it easily from place to place.” Preliminary results show that the children like the robots, and even hug them — until they’re bored.
Check out the photos. According to a UCSD press release:
Tickling RUBI’s sensitive TV belly so she giggles produces laughs from the people too. And, each time QRIO lays down on the floor at the end of a session for system shutdown, it draws a small crowd and a queue forms to cover him with a blanket and wish him “night-night.”
Nursery school teachers see the robots as aides, not competition.