AI for Good blog

Exploring the role of socially-assistive robots in education, companionship, and care

Global Summit | Robotics for Good

The AI for Good Global Summit 2024 is expected to transcend the typical boundaries of a conference, spotlighting the most innovative applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in various sectors. In less than one month, more than 90 interdisciplinary demos will be featured at the AI for Good exhibition floor: from robots and drones to the most advanced brain-machine interfaces. All highlighting AI’s vast potential to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the dynamic and ever-evolving robotics domain, this year’s lineup will also feature the latest advancements made in the field of socially-assistive robotics. They underscore a future where AI enables the nurturing of emotional well-being, improves educational outcomes, and ensures inclusivity across various facets of daily life.

Robots supporting emotional needs

A significant portion of this year’s Summit focuses on socially-assistive robots designed to enhance emotional well-being through companionship, aligning to SDG 3: Good health and well-being.

MetaCat and MetaDog, bionic pets designed by Elephant Robotics, offer the support and interaction of pet ownership. These robots utilize advanced touch sensors and voice recognition to interact meaningfully with users, potentially alleviating loneliness and enhancing mental well-being.

Similarly, PARO, a therapeutic robot shaped like a baby seal developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), gives comfort and stress relief to individuals suffering from dementia, PTSD, and other conditions. This robot has been utilized in over 30 countries, providing non-invasive therapy that aligns with SDG 3.

Additionally, I.R.I.S, a robot developed in collaboration with Indiana University and Toyota Research Institute, focuses on older adults, aiming to enhance their quality of life by helping them find and maintain meaningful community connections and activities.

Robots transforming educational settings

Educational and inclusive technologies also take the spotlight at the AI for Good Global Summit, addressing SDG 4: Quality education and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities.

Buddy, created by Blue Frog Robotics, addresses a broad range of needs such as educating children, assisting the elderly, supporting autistic children, and creating social links. This robot has been implemented in thousands of French schools, where it assists in educational activities and supports children with autism. This use of robotics in education can help to advance and promote inclusive and equitable quality education and personalized learning opportunities.

Loona, a robot pet enhanced with advanced processing capabilities designed by KEYi Technology, also serves an educational role by helping users to learn programming through Google Blockly, making technological education more accessible and enjoyable.

Furthermore, the Smart Robot Dog, created by Research Institute of Creative Education (RICE), stands as a quintessential educational companion for children of all ages. It blends entertainment with educational support, engaging young minds with interactive stories, songs, and games, and assists with homework using its built-in camera for image recognition. This interactive approach fosters essential developmental skills, such as communication and creativity.

Leka Robot, an interactive robot designed by Leka APF France handicap specifically for children with special needs, fosters social interactions and provides educational content tailored to enhance learning among this demographic.

Haru, developed by the Honda Research Institute, is aimed at fostering long-term interaction and cooperation among children from different cultural backgrounds, encouraging empathy and understanding through community-sharing activities.

Each of the robots that will be showcased at the Summit not only represents the pinnacle of current AI technology but also serves as a testament to the potential of these innovations to foster a more inclusive, educated, and healthy society. These robots demonstrate that technology, when developed thoughtfully and inclusively, can be a formidable ally in achieving the SDGs. This convergence of human-centric technology and robotic innovation at the AI for Good Global Summit offers a promising glimpse into a future where technology significantly contributes to the global good, advancing towards a more compassionate and connected world.

Elephant Robotics
Blue Frog Robotics
Honda Research Institute Japan
Elephant Robotics
Device, Robot
KEYi Technology
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
Research Institute of Creative Education
Indiana University Bloomington
Leka APF France handicap

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