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

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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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884 Comments
  • moonwatcher9
    moonwatcher9Monday, May 17, 2021 at 6:11 am
    Wow, that is so cool! :-D
    • lavender_brown
      lavender_brownWednesday, February 3, 2021 at 4:59 pm
      Cute
      • kcloveballet
        kcloveballetWednesday, November 18, 2020 at 1:32 pm
        wow
        • jkbear
          jkbearWednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:08 pm
          cool
          • bookfan2008
            bookfan2008Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm
            OMG!! That is SO cool!!
            • renegade5
              renegade5Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 11:43 am
              Cool! I want a robot classmate
              • wolfy_blue
                wolfy_blueWednesday, August 12, 2020 at 10:07 am
                will they take over schools? :/
                • teagytornado101
                  teagytornado101Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 7:42 am
                  Lol I hope they won't.
                • lolipoperz
                  lolipoperzThursday, April 23, 2020 at 4:39 am
                  Very cool!
                  • jango
                    jangoWednesday, March 18, 2020 at 5:22 am
                    wow
                    • TiannaSunday, March 3, 2019 at 2:32 pm
                      Like you should make more articles like this