OMG - The New Kid In Class Is A . . . Robot!

By Meera Dolasia on February 13, 2013

CCSS NAS-6 NCSS-7 Word Search

On February 5th, 2013, the fifth grade students at Japan's Higashihikari Elementary School welcomed a new student. However, unlike other newcomers, he was not shy and seemed to instantly recognize all 119 kids by their names. Impressed? You will be even more so, when you find out that Robovie is not human but a robot, masquerading as a fifth-grade student!

Developed by Japan's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, the 1.2 meter (3.9 feet) tall student is part of a 14-month experiment to test if robots can gradually learn to interact naturally and assimilate with a group of people.

While the company has previously conducted several experiments in various settings, this is the longest duration by far, and is all part of their bigger vision of making robots household fixtures, previous attempts at which, have been quite unsuccessful. This time around they decided to pick a school because it allows the bot to gather and hopefully incorporate copious amounts of data from the active and curious kids around him.

And though Robovie's amazing memory may have impressed you, he does have an unfair advantage - Though his daily conversation level has been restricted to that of a five-year old in the hope that he will develop his vocabulary by interacting with the fifth graders, he was preprogrammed with the facial photos and voiceprints of all 119 fifth graders and teachers, as well as, the contents of the entire fifth grade science text book. Nonetheless, he impressed the class by answering correctly that a wound up copper wire could also be called a copper coil, prompting a fellow student to quip 'It's smarter than me'!

While still early, Robovie is doing quite well on the social front too - Not only did he acknowledge all the students in his grade but after class, also shook hands with the sixth graders and was even polite enough to answer all their questions, just like any other new student would do. But then, this is not the first time Robovie (or another version of him) has been around humans. In the past he has been assigned to many tasks including helping the elderly shop for groceries.

Resources: gizmag.com,mainichi.Jp

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788 Comments
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  • bobFriday, January 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
    wow thats cool
    • rhiannonhayesmcqueen
      rhiannonhayesmcqueenThursday, January 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm
      what if robots took over the world?
      • bootyliciousTuesday, January 27, 2015 at 11:59 am
        japan strikes again!
        • flabbr
          flabbrWednesday, January 21, 2015 at 12:26 pm
          i knew we would be replaced by robots someday...
          • cool beansWednesday, January 21, 2015 at 8:55 am
            that was awsome
            • krystalkat
              krystalkatFriday, January 16, 2015 at 6:17 pm
              whoa
              • dogocrazy
                dogocrazyMonday, January 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm
                that is awsome
                • animegirly
                  animegirlyMonday, January 12, 2015 at 8:54 am
                  Wow that cool and I want to see him
                  • dogocrazy
                    dogocrazyMonday, January 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm
                    i do too
                  • beautifulgirl
                    beautifulgirlMonday, January 12, 2015 at 8:00 am
                    That really sweet there being nice to him or her because some school are mean to new student that different
                    • tutorialsbya
                      tutorialsbyaMonday, January 12, 2015 at 6:15 am
                      Wow that is so cool!

                      Vocabulary

                      assignedassimilatecopiousdurationfixturesmasqueradingnonethelesspreprogrammedrestrictedvoiceprints

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