People who grew up in the 1980s will likely remember an edutainment toy called the Speak ‘n’ Spell. It had a creepy synthetic voice that would ask you to spell words using it’s squishy touch panels, which has been used by savvy DJs to create funky quotes in their songs. Well, now there’s a new kid on the block thanks to Yujin Robot’s iRobi, hailing from South Korea.
The iRobi understands and reacts to around 1000 voice commands, plays educational games through its built-in 7inch LCD touch screen, and is designed to teach English. Besides a variety of games it can play, it can report the weather or provide recipes. It also has a built in 1.3 megapixel camera which allows parents to monitor their children and home while away via cellphone.
iRobi is 45cm tall, weighs 7kg, is self-charging (3 hours operation on 3 hour charge), and can move around on its wheels using obstacle avoidance. It costs around $3000 USD. It was developed in 2004, and released in April of 2007 as part of a national pilot program to evaluate the use and benefit of robots in the home, where it earned high praise from parents and children alike for its quality, reliability, and usability.
- Yujin Robot (official site EN) (KR)
- iRobibiz (iRobi site KR)
- Edurobot (iRobi Education Robot site KR)