Robot goes to preschool

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Qrio, a humanoid robot developed by Sony Intelligence Dynamics Laboratories, has been "attending" a nursery school in California since March. Qrio is taken to the school in San Diego every day, and spends time playing with ten children under the age of two. A researcher is on-hand to observe and document the interactions that take place.

The children were apprehensive about the robot at first, but have grown to accept it, and will help it up when it falls. "The children think of Qrio as a feeble younger brother", according to researcher Fumihide Tanaka.

Sony's aim in this endeavor is to work on developing a robot that can "live in harmony with humans in the future". The data gathered thus far have helped the researchers gain a better understanding of how robots should act around humans, in particular that balancing timely responses and unexpected movements are of integral importance.