We love Duolingo and other language learning-apps, what better way to practice a new language than with a conversational, and very friendly robot, Pepper.

What it does

The app uses the tablet display to showcase real-life objects and challenges the user with language related questions, specifically aimed for the Italian language.

How we built it

Built using the Pepper Robot and Choregraphe software tools. Language primarily used is Python, with additional assets creates using HTML / CSS

Challenges we ran into

How do you make a robot feel human through gestures, conversational prompts and just a friendly demeanor? Pepper is great but also has its own set of challenges when thinking about translating other languages besides French + Japanese. Super fun to work with and the documentation is very advanced.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The prototype is super fun to use and something I can imagine in 3-5 years being at every university for language tutoring. Being able to think deeper about how a robot can be an extension of the human experience and help people learn faster, and more organically.

What we learned

Troubleshooting hardware / networking issues that can distract away from the fluid experience you're trying to obtain. We worked really well together, even with a new software tool + documentation to review. The developer community for Pepper is not giant, but the content out there currently is very helpful. Python isn't a primary language used for 2 out of 3 devs on the team, but we accepted the challenge of learning specific context in a 40 hour hackathon.

What's next for Learning Language with a (robotic) friend

While the Pepper is a bit expensive for our uses, it was the first time any of our team worked on robotics - it will certainly not be the last!

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