Friendly robots are teaching kindergarten, so the future has arrived!

iPal Robot

Technology really does feel like it’s moving at lightning speed at the moment, and this amazing friendly robot is further proof of that.

The future is now

Not only can this cute and glossy iPal robot tell a classroom of kids a story, it can follow up with a quiz to test who was listening AND start a celebratory dance party when the work is done.

Granted all these tasks could be performed via an iPad screen or similar, but there’s an extra level of engagement that comes with being taught by a friendly robot. Because AMAZING!

The brainchild of genius company Avatarmind, this helpful and sophisticated robot is partly designed to be used as a teaching aid, but its makers say it also has application in the retail and hospitality industries, and in elderly care.

Of course, some people are saying this is creepy and let kids be kids and teachers are irreplaceable. All true, but perhaps the iPal can help to enhance the teaching and learning experience, and creepy is in the eye of the beholder. So there’s that.

Early days

Avatarmind explain that their robot “supports social development and encourages interest in science and technology. Retailing for between $1,500 and $2,000 US, the iPal can talk, dance, tell stories, play games, encourage physical activity, and enable them to chat with friends, share videos, and safely connect to the internet and social media.”

It’s possible that it might have other useful applications, perhaps in supporting kids through some kinds of therapy or teaching non-native languages to kiddos.

The robot is controlled – while carefully monitoring privacy and permissions – via an app and gathers data on children’s learning and development. 

“Only those with secure access to the iPal app can initiate remote control or audio/video monitoring or recording with iPal’s camera and microphones, and all recorded data in encrypted form,” its makers explain, saying the robot is restricted to show “content that is age appropriate for children.”

While the idea of AI and robots is unsettling, there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing a lot more of them as technology advances. Basically resistance is futile, so perhaps ensuring they’re built for good (not evil!) is the way forward.

It’s apparently currently being released in China, with the US to follow.

What do you think? Amazing or creepy? Or both?!


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