Robotics

A child with cardboard metal colored robot / Photo by: Haywiremedia via Shutterstock

 

For several decades, China promoted the one-child policy to control the population growth. Although it has been upgraded to a two-child limit, many solo children in households still exhibit childhood loneliness. Thus, a company built a robot to relieve this burden from children and parents.

The robot is called iPal that provides the appropriate assistance and entertainment to children. It has a size of an average child but is equipped with several tools such as two spoken languages, teaching systems including math lessons, humor capabilities, and tablet interaction with a screen on its chest area. The objective of this robot is to give engaging interplay with children, particularly with an only child, in order to uplift some degree of childhood loneliness associated with the lack of a sibling or relatives of the same age.

Aside from jokes and learning, iPal can also dance, play games, tell stories, and encourage physical activity among children. With advanced connectivity, the robot enables children to communicate with their friends via social media and share videos securely over the internet. Parents are given access to implement strict controls on the robot and monitor the activities, progress, and safety of their child using a computer or a smartphone connected to iPal.

While the software platform running on the robot is mainly designed for household purposes, it may also be employed for hospitality or retail settings. For instance, a children’s store can employ iPal to greet and entertain children, and orient them about available products. Another possible employment of the robot is at the concierge area of hotels to assist guests.

"The idea for this robot is to be a companion for children. When a child sees it, he or she will think of the robot as a friend, as another child in the family," said Tingyu Huang, co-founder of AvatarMind Robot Technology, creator of iPal.