_Several studies have shown that the current generation of children are falling behind on their social, emotional, and communication skills, relative to previous generations. It’s partially attributed to a lot of screen time and social media, but also pressures at school that add to anxiety, depression, and so on. Every child can benefit from advancing their social and emotional skills.
Paolo Pirjanian, former CTO of iRobot said, 'there’s something innate in our mind that triggers when we see something move on its own. Our experience tells us that it’s a living thing with a life and a consciousness all its own'.
To improve the situation the experts were trying for a long to invent something that will help children to develop their mental condition and learning skills. As a result, American industry leading robotics and AI company Embodied Inc. has developed a robot companion for children that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process and respond to natural conversation and facial expressions.
Moxie helps supporting parents and empowering children to build social emotional skills that promote confidence and resilience.
Moxie is a revolutionary companion for children under 10 that supports social, emotional and cognitive development. As Embodied explained, Moxie was designed to be tall enough to be of interest without being unwieldy.
During an unprecedented time of remote learning and increased isolation due to the pandemic, Moxie helps children practice essential social skills staying at home. They also gave Moxie large and friendly eyes to enable children to better recognise certain emotions, and a soft, smooth body coloured in a gender-neutral teal hue.
With the height of around 40 cm. Moxie has a teardrop-shaped head that perched upon a cylindrical, baby blue body, and is a cross between a videogame, a pet, and a teacher. It’s main purpose is to help children improve basic social skills like making eye contact, and cognitive skills like reading comprehension as they complete tasks supplied by a gamified narrative. Moxie can turn 360-degrees on its base in reaction to the child, as well as bend at the neck, stomach, and base to help express emotions.
The robot companion is programmed to teach new life skills every week, including kindness, friendship, empathy and respect. It does so through activities such as drawing, breathing exercises and meditation including problem-solving and reading. It also teaches the child to make eye contact, take turns with others, listen and to express empathy.
Moxie provides wonderful tool to asses, strategize and practice fundamental social interactions, being in the role of a mentor to moxie builds children's confidece.
Children are given the role of a robot mentor to Moxie who is on a mission to learn how to be a good friend to humans. As a mentor, your child will help Moxie complete missions that promote communication, listening, turn-taking, and other crucial relationship skills. Using advanced conversational technology, Moxie engages in open conversation to help mentors practice these essential social skills in real-time.
Mentors are then encouraged to share and apply what they've learned with friends and family. It’s for this reason that we say Moxie acts as a springboard to life, the skills learned with Moxie can make a real impact in the child’s relationships with others.
Moxie’s backstory is that it has been dispatched from a secret laboratory on a mission to learn how to be a better friend. The child becomes Moxie’s mentor, and Pirjanian’s idea is that they will also improve their own cognitive, emotional, and social skills by teaching the robot.
Moxie’s rampant appetite for data is key to the robot’s effectiveness. Not only does the data allow the robot to tailor its interaction to individual kids, but it is also critical for providing feedback to parents.
For children ages between 5-10, Moxie is the most advanced conversational robot with play-based activities designed by children development experts. Moxie is a new type of robot that has the ability to understand and express emotions with emotive speech, believable facial expressions and body language, tapping into human psychology and neurology to create deeper bonds.
Moxie learns more about your child to better personalize its content to help with each child’s individual developmental goals. Embodied has taken careful steps to ensure information provided by children and families is handled with high standards of privacy and security.
Moxie and its full ecosystem is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) Safe Harbor certified so parents can feel safe knowing that Moxie employs leading data integrity and security procedures and that its systems are regularly audited to ensure full compliance. Further, personally identifiable data and sensitive information is encrypted with the highest level of security and can only be decrypted by a unique key that only the parent has access to.
With the exception of Google’s automated speech-recognition software, all the data is crunched by Moxie’s onboard processor. The more a child interacts with Moxie, the more sophisticated those interactions become, as the robot learns to recognize the child’s face and his or her speech patterns and developmental needs.
Embodied partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster to integrate a dictionary into the robot's technology, making it able to teach kids the meanings of new words and concepts. The robot also comes with an app for parents that lets them see their child's developments through their activities with the robot.
Moxie won four awards in 2020 and each week it is updating with new content based on a certain theme like being kind or making mistakes. It then sends the child on thematic missions and asks them to report back about their experiences.
Pirjanian says, 'we don’t want children to just binge on this, because five hours of games each day doesn’t help. The robot encourages children to go out and practice things in the real world and report back, because that’s where we want them to succeed.
It can also recognise and remember people, places and things. According to the tech company, this creates a sense of trust and empathy with the user, and encourages a deeper engagement with the robot.
A camera embedded in the robot's forehead allows it to see child, while a speaker integrated in its lower body enables it to speak. A coloured bar on its chest also shows its battery life.
While the robot sleeps, it crunches the data from the day’s interaction, measuring things like the child’s reading comprehension and language use, and the amount of time they spent on various tasks. It sends that data to an app that parents can use to monitor their child’s progress on those tasks and overall social, cognitive, and emotional development as determined by Moxie’s algorithms.
Over time, the robot also provides recommendations. For example, if Moxie notices a recurring verbal tic, it might suggest that the parents take their child to a speech pathologist.
Parents who sought help for their child said their child’s emotional well being declined during the pandemic. Besides, children showed social skill improvement and 69% showed behavior improvement after using Moxie for one month.
Embodied developed a machine-learning platform, called SocialX, that allows the robot to process and respond to natural interactions such as conversation, facial expressions and eye contact. Parents have reported their children feeling happier, less lonely and being better able to cope and calm themselves down after using Moxie for a month.
Embodied is currently partnering with University of Rochester Medical Center to develop clinical applications for Moxie in pediatric care.
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