Future of education? Droids teaching toddlers

Charles Choi:

Robots could one day help teach kids in classrooms, suggests research involving droids and toddlers in California.
A robot named RUBI has already shown that it can significantly improve how well infants learn words, and the latest version of the bot under development should also be able to wheel around classrooms, too.
The idea to develop RUBI came to Javier Movellan, director of the Machine Perception Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego, when he was in Japan for research involving robots and his kids were in a child care center.
“I thought, ‘Let’s bring robots to the child care center,’ and the children got really scared. It was a really horrible experience,” Movellan recalled. “But it showed that the robots really got their attention, and that if we got the experience right, it could be potentially very powerful at evoking the emotional responses we’d want.”