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Smart, Fluffy Storytelling Robot to Be Trialed in ­.S. Classrooms

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The Tega robot and a friend.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a cute, fluffy robot that can help boost children's language skills.

Credit: MIT

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a cute, fluffy robot that can help boost language skills in young children.

The Tega robot sounds like a child, animates its body and face while storytelling, and illustrates its tales on a screen.

During an eight-week trial, Tega read picture books to 67 children four to six years old in weekly one-on-one sessions lasting an hour.

During the meetings, Tega asked questions to gauge the listener's opinion and comprehension, testing them on a word's meaning, or getting them to draw conclusions about a specific character.

Tega also recorded the facial expressions and body positions of each child to determine how engaged they were.

Following the last sessions, the researchers found that all the children who played with Tega had improved their vocabularies.

Next, the team will pilot Tega in schools in Atlanta and Boston, hoping to address early gaps in language skills.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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