Projo Robot Teaching Assistant

Robot will be teaching in selected public schools across America this year. The effort is the first of several robot experiments planned and is backed by a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation. It will be conducted by a coalition of researchers from Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California and Stanford University.


(Projo works with Oumou Doumbia at a New York school )

The New York robot experiment relies on a basic insight: Children don't like admitting mistakes but they enjoy pointing out someone else's. The idea was to "use that to our advantage," said Sandra Okita, an assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, who is leading the experiment.

She programmed her robot—a $14,000 android nicknamed "Projo," with glowing eyes, bulging triceps and a futuristic-looking white and orange spacesuit—to make carefully calculated errors when working with students. As the children correct their 2-foot-tall partner, she hopes they become more aware when they make the same mistakes.

"I think the imperfect robot is good for humans," Ms. Okita said. "It has to be a give-and-take relationship where you influence the robot and the robot influences you."

It took only one session in a Harlem school for 11-year-old Oumou Doumbia to declare Projo a "friend" and collaborator—although she was relieved to see the machine's small stature. A human-sized robot "would definitely freak me out," she said.

Teaching machines have been a staple in science fiction for more than sixty years. In his 1951 story The Fun They Had, Isaac Asimov wrote about a mechanical teacher:

Margie went into the classroom. It was right next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except Saturday and Sunday, because her mother said little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours.

Here's another example from a 1984 Bruce Sterling story, that uses a virtual teacher:

When Nikolai Leng was a child, his teacher was a cybernetic system with a holographic interface. The holo took the form of a young Shaper woman. It's "personality" was an interactive composite expert system manufactured by Shaper psychotechs. Nikolai loved it.
(Read more about the cybernetic teaching system)

Via Wall Street Journal.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/12/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'

Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.

Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'

Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.

Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'

Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.

Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'

Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'

Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.