KIST (Korea Institute of Science & Technology), in cooperation with CTS (Creative Technical Services) has developed a telepresence teaching aid robot called VANI (Variety, Ability, & Intimacy) for use in English classes, which they unveiled in time for October’s Robot World 2008. It stands 1.2m (4 feet) tall and weighs 40kg (88 lbs), holding a 30.7cm (12.1”) touch screen display that can be adjusted to the height of the student.
Children can interact through an intuitive 3D GUI and the developers have contracted more than 100 native speakers to teach through the service, which will be launched in the first quarter of 2009.
Developing a mobile robot with obstacle detection and other safety features may seem a bit much for what amounts to an interactive touch screen with English software, but the robot is intended for preschoolers and elementary students. As such, by adding some personality the researchers hope to make the experience more inviting for the kids, while no doubt grabbing some of the precious funds from the government’s robotics initiative.
[source: Yahoo! Korea]
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