Students in Japan will be able to send a robot to school in their place when they’re sick
- A school outside of Tokyo will let sick students send robots to class in their place
- The robots will be controlled remotely by tablet and deliver a live camera feed
- Students will also be able to speak through a mic and rotate its head
A school district in Japan has begun a pilot program that will let sick school children send a robot to the classroom in their place.
The program is being conducted at the Tomobe-Higashi special support school in Kasama, a city 60 miles north of Tokyo.
The robot model is called Ori Hime, and is developed by Ory Laboratory.
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A Japanese school near Tokyo is conducting a pilot program allowing sick students to attend classes using a robotic avatar called Ori Hime (pictured above)
The Ori Hime robot is a small bust-sized robot designed to be placed on a counter top or desk.
It has two flap-like arms and a camera mounted in its head, all of which can be controlled remotely via a touchscreen tablet interface.
Since October 31, sick students at Tomobe-Higashi school have each been assigned their own Ori Hime stand in, which is placed on their desk, giving them a live feed of the classroom through the head-mounted camera.
Remote students will be able to speak into a mic and the Ori Hime will broadcast their voice through built-in speakers.
Students will also be able to rotate the robots head to look at different areas of the class room, as well as command it to perform simple emotive gestures like waving, pointing, and clapping.
‘It’s fun to turn the robot in directions I want to look in,’ Kanae Sudo, an eleven-year-old student who’s used the Ori Hime to attend a science fair from a nearby hospital room, told the Asahi Shimbun.
Users can control the Ori Hime remotely using a touchscreen tablet
School administrators had previously allowed remote study with stationary camera feed, but the ability to directly control the view and make the robot gesture has greatly improved the results according to school administrators.
‘The robot can easily be operated, and students feel like they are actually attending class,’ assistant principal Noboru Tachi said.
‘We will seriously consider introducing it on a full-scale basis.’
The Ori Hime has a mic, speaker, and camera to make live audio and visual communication possible. It can also rotate its had and perform a number of expressive gestures, including pointing and waving
Ori Hime is one of a number of different kinds of robotic aids produced by Ory Laboratory.
Company CEO Kentaro Yoshifuji was himself unable to attend school due to illness between the ages of ten and fourteen.
Shortly after, he began experimenting with ways to use robots to help people with health concerns.
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