Manama: A nanny robot that teaches children colours, shapes, letters and numbers has been built by a team of students from Bahrain University.
Computer engineering graduates Huda Abdulshaheed Ali, Hawra Ahmed Ebrahim and Alaa Salahuddin designed the Nanny Bot as their final term project, in a bid to remove the human element from pre-school education.
The trio, aged 22 and 23, used Lego Mindstorms NXT robotic sets to create the humanoid-like device, which can be moved and controlled using a Google Android smartphone application.
When tested at Al Wade’a Kindergarten in Samaheej it “mesmerised” the pupils there, Ms Ibrahim told the GDN.
“The children were amazed because they have never seen something like this before,” she said.
“We made it hold a marker and draw a circle, triangle and square.
“The robot can be moved easily using the Android app and its arms can move in all directions.
“Teachers thanked us for testing it on the children and told us that we have introduced them to a new method of teaching.”
Using a colour sensor attached to one hand, the robot detects the colour of any object it touches and says it aloud.
It also has an integrated camera to monitor children while their parents are away and a sensor that detects if they are crying.
“It is like the robot is speaking to the child so that they will interact with it and learn more,” said Ms Ibrahim.
“We also created it as a method to monitor babies and children when their parents are away.
“They can turn on the robot’s camera by calling its IP address and watch whatever is happening inside the child’s room.
“Also, a sound sensor detects crying and the robot can then notify parents by SMS.”
The robot can also be programmed to read fairy tales and play songs, she added.
Created at a cost of around BD150, the project was named as one of the three best computer engineering projects for the second semester of the last academic year.
Team supervisor and computer engineering associate professor Dr Alauddin Al Omary described the robot as a huge leap forward in educational technology.
“Educational institutions should understand the importance of technology in teaching because the world has changed now as well as the way children understand things around them,” he said.
“This robot is created for this aim and I hope it appeals to parents and teachers.
“I think that, when developed and further upgraded, the robot can become a product for people to buy and use in homes and schools.”