Science

Seoul tests miniature robots as teaching aids in preschoolers

The “Alpha Mini” robot is currently being tested in 300 kindergartens in the capital and is an integral part of the students’ daily program.

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has launched a pilot project to implement 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” – 9 inches tall, the machine can dance, recite stories, perform karaoke, and even teach kung fu moves to kids who mimic its push-ups. “Robots stimulate children’s creativity,” teacher Byun Seo-yeon told AFP during a visit to Maru’s bright and lively nursery in Seoul. The robot can blink and its pupils dilate and form a heart when you start a conversation with it. With a camera on his helmet, he takes photos that are instantly sent to a tablet for viewing and analysis.

“In the future, it will be very important to know how to handle artificial intelligence and its related tools,” Han Dong-seong of the Seoul government’s child care division told AFP. According to him, this “experience will have a lasting effect” throughout the children’s lives. The robots are currently being tested in 300 preschools, which typically serve children between the ages of three and six, in the country’s capital. The Alpha Mini was adopted as an integral part of Maru’s four- to five-year-old class daily schedule, and its ability to “fart” on command is the highlight of recess. “When I ask him to sing, he sings well. I tell him to dance and we dance together, ”says 5-year-old Lee Ga-yoon.

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