California startup Embodied announced that it will release a new robot for children. Embodied calls the robot, Moxie, an “animate,” because it’s designed as a companion for children, capable of listening, interacting, and recognising people. It’s designed for children between five and 10 years old.
Embodied says it worked with child development experts to tailor Moxie specifically to the way children learn. A limited number of Moxie robots are available to preorder now for $US50, with a full price of $US1,500.
Embodied has raised a total of $US41 million from companies like Amazon, Intel, Sony, and Toyota, Fast Company reported.
Here’s how the robots work.
Moxie can process and respond to normal conversation patterns, even holding eye contact and responding with appropriate facial expressions.
It’s designed to be a companion to a child, while also helping them develop emotionally and cognitively.
Every week, Moxie has a different theme, like friendship or empathy, and gives missions to the child to practice.
Missions are all kinds of activities, like drawing, meditation, reading, or conversations with friends and parents.
Moxie can recognise people and places, and over time personalizes goals and content for the child.
It can also recognise objects, like books and drawings.
Embodied describes Moxie as a “mentor” for a child that helps them develop confidence and social skills.
Moxie is only 7 lbs, and 15 inches tall.
Along with the $US1,500 cost of Moxie itself, parents also need to buy a $US60 a month subscription to the Moxie ecosystem.
The subscription includes new mission, cloud storage data collected by Moxie, and an accompanying app for parents.
In the app, parents can manage settings, get parenting tips, and even put in upcoming milestones like a first day of school so Moxie can help prepare the child.
The app also has a dashboard that tracks development in different areas.
Sketches from designers at fuseproject, who also worked on Moxie, show the ideas that went into the final product.
Design was as important as functionality, because Moxie has to appear friendly and approachable to children.
The final model is short, with rounded features, for a cute friendly look kids won’t be afraid of.
Moxie robots are now going into mass production.
Plastic parts are moulded and checked for quality.
At the end, each robot is certified and ready to go.