Robot teaches kids STEM, coding, AIMarie Donlon | March 14, 2019
A robot that will teach kids science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) along with coding and artificial intelligence (AI) will be on the market by the end of 2019.
Little Sophia, from Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, is the little sister to the company’s human-like AI bot Sophia the Robot. At 14 in tall, Little Sophia is designed with kids ages seven and up in mind. Little Sophia works using a combination of neural networks, machine perception, conversational natural language processing (NLP) and adaptive motor control.
With different facial expressions, facial tracking and facial recognition technology, Little Sophia can tell jokes, sing, tell stories, play games and conduct educational and interactive conversations with its audience. Likewise, Little Sophia responds to commands.
Hanson Robotics was inspired to create Little Sophia by the ever-widening gender gap that exists in the STEM professions. Although Little Sophia was designed with all kids in mind, the makers suggest that making the doll female serves to attract more little girls to the STEM world. Hanson Robotics also built the bot to familiarize younger generations with robotics as they will be working alongside robots in the future workforce.
Little Sophia works with a companion app called Sophiabot and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android.
This robot is just one in a long list of recent attempts to attract young girls to the STEM world amid reports that women are largely underrepresented in those industries. Recent attempts have included designating a specific day to introduce a girl to engineering, a STEM line of Barbies, a NASA-themed American Girl Doll and a “Women of NASA” LEGO set. Similarly, a $25 million initiative was recently launched to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers.
To preorder Little Sophia, go to the company’s Kickstarter campaign page.