Through my studies of robotics, I have learned how impactful social robots can be on children's education. Robots encourage students to break out of their shell, are an exciting medium, and make a huge, measurable impact on the learning rate for children who are struggling with school work or social skills. In my free time, I also participate at the Yale Hospital daycare center, and observe some of the struggles developing children undergo in terms of communication, socializing with others, and how they use their bodies in engagement with others.
What it does
Arthur takes in a prompt from a teacher, and asks the student to engage with them while the student simultaneously rubs their back. If the student is rubbing too hard, the robot asks the student to be more gentile, and if they are rubbing gently enough, the robot will thank them. If the student consistently struggles to rub Arthur gently, he will count to five and encourage the student to take a deep breath. Meanwhile, the student is sharing a conversation with a robot that is dictated by a teacher or adult. This dual-engagement will help students develop through communication and physical connection.
How I built it
I used the Anki Vector API and Python3
Challenges I ran into
I wanted to make this something that can actually be used in a classroom and seem lifelike to children, so that means Arthur has to run smoothly. It was a challenge to make his repeated actions seem like a flowing conversation.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am proud that at the end, Arthur does seem pretty life like and this could be used in a classroom.
What I learned
What's next for Arthur
I would love to include NLP so that Arthur can really keep a child engaged ELIZA-style. Also, machine learning can be used to focus on the child's strengths and weaknesses, and therefore become an even more productive robot for learning.
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