An AI Companion For Kids

By Ayushee Sharma

1915
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Traditionally, joint families have been a part of Indian culture. But in today’s fast-growing society, disintegration of the joint family system has paved the way for nuclear families. It is no hidden fact that parents tend to spend less time with children due to their busy lifestyles. So how do children get the much-needed attention in their growing years and parents do not miss out on their lives?

A Mumbai-based robotics company founded by Prashant V. Iyengar, Sneh R. Vaswani and Chintan S. Raikar, aims to solve this challenge by applying artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) through its emotionally-intelligent solutions. The first product line, Miko series of personal AI robots, ensures that children undergo constant development and learning by educating and entertaining them in a responsible and fun way.

The latest product, Miko 2, stands 18cm tall and runs on 1.5GHz quad-core processor. It weighs 900 grams and has a 7.1cm (2.8-inch)-wide, high-resolution IPS display. To ask a question, the child has to say “Hello, Miko” or press and hold the select button. The bot can hear the child even from a distance and estimate his/her direction to have a face-to-face conversation in English. It attempts to understand the child’s emotions and improves with every interaction.

Kids can revise educational concepts, play games and listen to stories as well. With the latest update, the bot can be used to click pictures, too. A red light indicates that it needs charging. However, the bot should not be placed on glass surfaces.

Vaswani, co-founder and chief executive officer, Miko, says, “Compared to its predecessor, Miko 2 is smartphone-independent, Wi-Fi-enabled with advanced tech specifications and sensors, video-calling features, better microphones, front camera, and mood-, speech- and edge-detection abilities. Using state-of-the-art computer vision, the camera helps Miko 2 identify, remember and recollect known faces, objects and the world around it.”

Miko 2 has an edge sensor that intelligently saves itself from falling from a surface while playing with children. It comes bundled with some of the best technologies globally that make the entire experience life-like. With over 34 sensor lines processed in real time, Miko 2 truly revolutionises man-machine interaction to the next level.”

Safety is ensured by encrypting the child’s data. Parents can remotely control the interactions with Miko 2 app and parental dashboard. They can also have a video call with their child. “Miko 2 is compliant with all child safety standards globally,” adds Vaswani.
Talking about government support, he says, “The government has supported us in different ways and encouraged Miko 2 to take the next step in the education sector. We are registered as a startup under Ministry of Commerce, and avail the benefits for the same.”

The robot comes in three colours, namely, martian red, goblin green and pixie blue. It is available online as well as in different offline stores across India for a price of ₹ 24,999. The company hopes to develop solutions across verticals like childcare, elderly care and others, globally.

Discussing future plans, Vaswani says, “Our clients loved playing with the advanced version of the robot, Miko 2. Based on the feedback and suggestions we receive from them time and again, we keep updating the product with new, advanced features and keep on evolving the entire user experience. We have a pipeline of products for the next five years, which is currently under development.”


 

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