He is only 24.5cm tall and leads an entire kindergarten class. The Alpha Mini robot is a new ally for school teachers in South Korea.
Sponsored by the city of Seoul, this technology is presented here as an educational tool that should allow children to familiarize themselves with new technologies, like computer lessons.
The little Alpha Mini is thus capable of telling nursery rhymes, singing tunes, doing push-ups, teaching some martial arts gestures and even “farting” to amuse the youngest.
Designed like an android, this biped mainly emphasizes a plump face and funny expressions, two small screens animating its eyes. The robot also has a camera placed on its forehead to take photos that it shares directly on a tablet accessible to children. More than 300 nursery schools in this city, housing nearly 10 million inhabitants, recently welcomed this new tenant.
Stimulate children’s creativity
“Robots stimulate children’s creativity,” says teacher Byun Seo-yeon. “In the future, knowing how to handle artificial intelligence and its related tools will be very important,” adds Han Dong-seong, of the Seoul government’s childcare division. According to him, this “experience will have a lasting effect throughout the life of the children.”
If South Korea intends to popularize this little robot, however, this is not the first experience of this type. In 2019, Softbanks Robotics was already experimenting with a future where teachers could be supported by robots in the classroom. The robot could be responsible for teaching generalities, while the teacher could pay more attention to students in difficulty, for example.