Moxie is a smart robot companion that teaches children life lessons
Technology company Embodied has developed a robot companion for children that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process and respond to natural conversation and facial expressions.
The robot, called Moxie, is an "animate companion" designed to help children between the age of five and 10 develop their social, emotional and cognitive skills through play-based learning.
Moxie has been shortlisted in the product design category of this year's Dezeen Awards.
As Embodied explained, Moxie was designed to be "tall enough to be of interest without being unwieldy", measuring at just under 40 centimetres in height.
The design team created a face for the robot that is without specific details like wrinkles and shadows to make it easier to express feelings such as interest or worry.
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.
Other features designed to be "endearing" are the robot's teardrop-shaped ears, its round, helmet-like face and its hands, which have a simplified form with a pointed but rounded index finger and a thumb on the inside.
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.
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.
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.
Its machine-learning capabilities means it can learn more about the child as it goes, better personalising its content to assist the child's learning goals.
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.
"Now, more than ever, the importance of technological advancement in at-home learning and care is paramount," said Embodied, who collaborated with Yves Béhar's design and innovation firm Fuseproject to create the robot.
"We're at a tipping point in the way we will interact with technology," added Embodied founder Paolo Pirjanian.
"We have been rethinking and reinventing how human-machine interaction is done beyond simple verbal commands, to enable the next generation of computing, and to power a new class of machines capable of fluid social interaction."
"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," Pirjanian continued.
The robot companion is programmed to teach a different "life skill" each week, including kindness, friendship, empathy and respect.
It does so through activities such as drawing, breathing exercises and meditation, problem-solving and reading. It also teaches the child to make eye contact, take turns with others, listen and to express empathy.
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.
Alongside Moxie a pocket-sized device called Catch that enables people to test themselves for HIV from the comfort of their own home has also been shortlisted in the product design category of this year's Dezeen Awards.
A modular car trunk extension by Czech firm Studio 519 has also been shortlisted in the product design category. The module, called Nestbox, fits snug inside the boot of a car to transform it into a camper, with a double bed and kitchen equipment.