MISE & Agrave; DAY
Seoul has launched a pilot project to deploy miniature robots as educational tools in preschools to, according to the city government, help prepare the next generation for a high-tech future.
Say hello to the “Alpha Mini”: 24.5 centimeters high, the machine can dance, recite stories, conduct karaoke and even teach kung fu movements to children who mimic his pumps.
“Robots stimulate children's creativity,” teacher Byun Seo-yeon told AFP during a visit to the bright and lively Maru nursery in Seoul.
The robot can blink and his pupils dilate and form a heart when a conversation is initiated with him.
With a camera on his helmet, he takes photos that are instantly sent to a tablet for viewing and analysis .
“In the future, knowing how to handle artificial intelligence and its related tools will be very important,” Han Dong-seong of the government's childcare division told AFP. from Seoul.
The robots are currently being tested in 300 preschools – typically catering for children between the ages of three and six – in the nation's capital.
According to Han, this “experiment will have a lasting effect” throughout of children's lives.
The Alpha Mini has been adopted as an integral part of the daily program for Maru's four to five year old class, with its ability to 'fart' on command being a highlight of recess.
“When I ask him to sing, he sings well. I tell him to dance and we dance together ”, assures Lee Ga-yoon, 5 years old.
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