This little robot can be programmed by Bockly and Python language (Photo via Hanson Robotics)
It’s now easier than ever to teach kids the basics of STEM and coding. Every year a slew of new programs, toys, games, and books are released that aim to introduce kids to the world of programming. Hanson Robotics is doing the same with a slightly different approach. They recently revealed their little sister version of AI robot Sophia, a companion meant to help young girls learn how to code and gain the understanding of STEM concepts.
Looking like a mini version of X from Ex Machina, this 14-inch android is suposedly the first commercial robot with a human-like face. Even if you don’t think she’s cute, you can’t deny that she’s an impressive machine. She walks, talks, sings, play games, and tells jokes, just like her big sister. She can also respond to commands and engage in conversations.
Thanks to her software, she can be programmed to give your kid a unique experience. And because of her build, she can pull off a wide range of facial expressions. And you can even play dress up with Sophia using her augmented reality function that puts her in funny hats and costumes for Snapchat style selfies.
While Hanson Robotics wants to make sure kids are having fun with Sophia, they want to promote learning as well. Kids can program their robotic companion with Blockly and Python languages by using the accompanying app. She also comes equipped with kid-friendly tutorials via Hanson’s AI Academy.
The company hopes Little Sophia will encourage more girls to learn STEM based skills that will lead to roles in fields which are still male-dominated. "Women make up only 15 to 25 per cent of the current STEM workforce and the gap is broadening," said Hanson Robotics.
"The growth of STEM jobs in the future is expected to skyrocket. However, there's a lack of women in these fields meaning fewer female role models, both for current STEM employees and for girls still forming career choices," continued the brand.
Hanson Robotics is currently seeking funding for Little Sophia on Kickstarter. They’ve more than reached their goal of $75,000 raising over $150,000 with a little over a month to go. You can pick up your own Little Sophia for $99 as part of the Super Early Bird pledge. If you miss out on that, the price jumps up to $149. The company hopes to deliver the robots by the end of the year.
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