By Peter Schaeffer
He’s part robotic buddy, he’s part aide, he’s part companion, he’s part teacher and his totally cool. That’s Milo, from Robokind and he is the most amazing robot we’ve ever seen. If you’ve paid attention to nibletz.com, we’ve seen, and our 10 year old edtech reporter Tatum, has seen a LOT of robots.
Tatum had breakfast on Wednesday at TCEA with Milo and his creator Richard Margolin, a guy who’s been creating expressive robots for over a decade. The Dallas based engineer has created robots with amazing realistic movements and facial expressions. We’re talking Milo could unlock an iPhone X.
Margolin explained that he has had the opportunity to use his talent and expertise to create some cool one off robots used as special effects and in movies but with Milo he knew he had something truly special. While creating Milo he was also researching Autism and some of the things that would be helpful to kids with autism.
Margolin designed Milo to be a companion, friend and teacher to students with Autism. Milo is able to respond with facial expressions and help students learn social skills. He is also instrumental in instruction because he can spend as long as the student needs to on subject matter without growing tired or frustrated. As lessons or concepts continue, Milo knows just the right time to look happy, engaged, or offer words of encouragement.
One of the things that Margolin wanted to do, was to make sure that Milo wasn’t “just another robot”, something cool the teacher could take out for kids to play with and then throw in a closet for a few months. Milo is a great supplement to traditional therapy for students with Autism.
About halfway through the video interview above Margolin shows Tatum just how realistic Milo looks. Heck, this robot can even cry.
Teachers and parents love Milo. One parent, who’s daughter is Autistic, said that Milo was the best investment her child’s school has ever made. The work that Milo is doing in the classroom is translating to actionable results for these students in their home lives.
Carrie Watson, who has two sons with Autism said, “When you have a child who talks and then they stop, for them to come back and actually talk to you, there’s no greater thing. That in itself, you yearn for your children to talk to you and when you don’t have that and something like this can bring them out of their shell, there’s no greater joy,”
Our 10 year old edtech reporter, Tatum, who’s played with almost every commercially available robot under the sun, said “Mind Blown” after her breakfast meeting with Milo and Margolin.