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
  • bray912
    bray912over 4 years
    COOL!
    • grapefruit
      grapefruitalmost 5 years
      WOW THAT IS SO COOL
      • scarletnews101
        scarletnews101almost 5 years
        I find the robot somewhat adorable!
        • kittylover8786
          kittylover8786almost 5 years
          That is so cool, may be one of my teachers would want one???
          • cutecat6
            cutecat6almost 5 years
            OMG! I really want a robot as a classmate!!! She/he will be super friendly!!!!!! She/he would be my friend FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like this comment and please follow me so I will follow YOU!!! Thx!!!
            • dancer_cbear52
              dancer_cbear52almost 5 years
              That would be really cool. I think it would be a great idea especially if a classmate was sick and could control the robot from home so it's like they're there.
              • katelynh1
                katelynh1almost 5 years
                I agree I luv robots
                • skyflower121
                  skyflower121almost 5 years
                  I agree with you cutecat6 I would love a robot classmate!
                • Aniah. Lalmost 5 years
                  This robot was made so that it can be used as an assistant and be friendly to humans
                  • jean I.almost 5 years
                    this robot was made to act like an assistant and communicate with humans
                    • jean I.almost 5 years
                      this robot was made to act like an assistant ant to communicate with haumns
                      • S.Galmost 5 years
                        it was about a robot going to a fifth grade class in japan so that the scientists could see what problems it had working with humans
                        • Audri J.almost 5 years
                          A robot was made to help out humans so the inventer put him in a school to be disguised as a fifth grader to see how he does around kids and humans.Now he is capable of being a handy helper for the elderly , adults, and children.