Robot teachers

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.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    They need one that changed diapers.

  2. elfcharm says:

    It would be an interesting to see if children who recieved care from a robot which simulated demonstrative actions develop when compared to a child who actually is the subject of demonstrative actions from a person.
    Maybe the ones who get robot hugs will love their computers more?

  3. elfcharm says:

    Correction: it would be interesting to see HOW children develop when recieving demonstrative actions from a robot, not IF. although, IF is more amusing.

  4. Will the robots need a college degree to be qualified?

  5. This sounds like a good idea, once the robots are developed to the point where they can teach effectively. Imagine an even-tempered robotic teacher that is never grumpy, grouchy, PMS-y, hungry, horny, tired, or craving nicotine during classtime. (Or greedy too, during union meetings.) Why bother sending a robot to four years of leftoid crap at college, when it can be instantly programmed with the necessary factual knowledge? Since a teacher also has to be a judge, what can be more impartial than an artificial life form? And I hope I live long enough to see a robot put an arrogant jock or cheerleader in its place!

    A robotic teacher would have to be sturdy in construction, for obvious reasons, and have good batteries. Perhaps even a taser turret for self-defence.