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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771 Comments
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  • peachocho123
    peachocho123Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    wish my class had him
    • ? Mystery manThursday, November 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm
      I wish I was him
      • FireFriday, November 14, 2014 at 5:23 am
        This is awesome I wish I had a robot like that.
        • coolgirlThursday, November 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm
          YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!
          • coolgirlThursday, November 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm
            WOW i cant believe he is in 5th grade. Maybe he is very,very smart
            • basket
              basketFriday, November 7, 2014 at 6:52 am
              Cool
              • EpherataWednesday, November 5, 2014 at 8:59 am
                WOW! A robot that is in school.Maybe its mom is a robot too.
                • coolgirlTuesday, October 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm
                  a robot in class...WHAT!!!
                  • leap58
                    leap58Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm
                    tons of style
                    • coolguyTuesday, October 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm
                      that robot has got some style

                      Vocabulary

                      assignedassimilatecopiousdurationfixturesmasqueradingnonethelesspreprogrammedrestrictedvoiceprints

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