Although robots have infiltrated our daily lives in many positive ways, part babysitter, part teacher appears to be a new role. A Korean telecom company, KT Corporation, has invented a robot named Kibot that can read, sing and speak to children in several languages.
Kibot resembles a toy monkey and stands about 12 inches. Don’t let its innocent appearance fool you; this sophisticated bot has an integrated web cam and wi-fi and sells for $450 (£279).
Communication is achieved via flash cards, but the bot’s most amazing feature is that it makes mothers feel connected with their children all the time.
Via a phone, a mother at work can instruct the robot to search her house for her children if she cannot see them playing.
The face-to-face videophone function makes it easy for toddlers to operate and from the parents’ side, the robot can be controlled from a smartphone simply by calling in.
“We trust our babysitter, but sometimes it’s much better to have someone or something else monitoring my babies… We’ve tried all interactive educational toys, but this one actually initiates interaction both in Korean and in English,” one mother told ABC News.
Kibot is the perfect playmate as it never tires of encouraging its young charges to play and explore. It is a vital language tool as well, especially for those Korean parents who may wish their children to begin learning English at a very early age.
Kibot represents the outgrowth of the growing trend in South Korean private schools that requires children to speak English.
When Kibot is left alone, it moves around the house searching for a child to play with. It is a demanding playmate as it won’t take no for an answer in any of the many languages it has been programmed to speak.
Almost all of South Korea’s homes have broadband access, which puts South Korea on top of the world’s most wired countries list.
A,B,C… I, J,F Kibot!