CODE_n Alumni | "We designed our vision of a social robot for educating the children of today"
We continue with an in-depth look at the trend of robotics and AI! Today, let’s turn to another fascinating startup story, this time in a field undergoing sweeping developments – especially when it merges with educational technology (EdTech): our Spanish CODE_n alumnus Aisoy Robotics. Aisoy creates “emotional entertainment robots” that are changing the way people play, learn, discover, and have fun. Will they revolutionize the education industry by getting robots to teach children – not only in terms of knowledge acquisition but also emotional intelligence? Learn more in this interview with Aisoy Robotics and its founder and CEO, José Manuel del Río.
1. Hi José, it’s great to catch up with you! We’re curious to hear about current robotics developments in the EdTech sector. Can you give us a brief update?
Most of the current educational robots have been used to develop technical skills at schools, mainly in the field of robotics and programming. We think we need a more disruptive approach in education. So we’ve launched Aisoy1 KiK, the world’s first educational robot that works at the child’s own pace to develop their intelligence on multiple fronts.
2. In an earlier interview with CODE_n you already explained your business idea and your product – the Aisoy robot – to our readers. The latest version of Aisoy 1 KiK and the Airos 6 component have been available since May. What’s new?
Aisoy1 KiK is much more than the next Aisoy1 generation. It’s our vision of a social robot for educating the children of today. It provides a more personalized education, developing “multiple intelligences.” Aisoy1 is emotional, different, unique, fun, and educational. It has now taken on a life of its own with a captivating personality. Its mission is to help you have fun, to surprise you, play, chat about different topics, and stimulate the development of your creativity and multiple intelligences. Aisoy1 is not just a robot. Now it’s a playmate and friend.
3. What do children learn with Aisoy? Do they learn better with the help of the robot and if so, why?
With Aisoy1 KiK, children can develop a number of skills and capabilities through their emotions. Other robots have focused on electromechanical aspects or learning programming up to now. Our approach is to engage children in a new way of learning through play – by using the magic of a smart robot which becomes the child’s mentor at home or a powerful tool at school.
4. Aisoy not only provides children with new knowledge, it also fosters creativity and emotional intelligence. How do you do this?
Aisoy1 is the only educational robot in the world with its own emotional engine. This allows Aisoy1 to have emotions, develop its own personality, and create a strong affective bond with each child. In addition, after each iteration Aisoy1 knows the child better and evolves by adapting its interaction strategy and content to the child.
5. The robot can also support children with autism. Please tell us a little bit more about how that works.
Children with special needs enjoy even greater benefits with Aisoy1. It’s kind of cute, its shape is well defined, and its behavior is predictable. So this provides such children with a sense of security and comfort; they can tune in to its thoughts and this “re-educates” shortfalls in social behavior.
6. Children can also learn programming with Aisoy. How important do you find programming skills for future generations?
Programming is important. But in our opinion there are more important skills you develop when you learn to program things – like problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity. In some studies, using Aisoy1 to program code is three times better at developing such skills than programming things like Lego robots.
7. How will the EdTech field develop with the advent of digital transformation? What trends do you anticipate in the coming years?
The real world is analog, not digital. But that’s not to say the digital world is not important; in fact, it has an impact on all of our lives. So EdTech should provide us with tools that create rich experiences – combining two worlds. That way, we can develop the capabilities that children will need in the future. Our aim with Aisoy is to build those experiences and products.
8. You took part in the CODE_n CONTEST in 2015 and won a trip to dreamforce 15 in San Francisco as part of the special Celebrate Innovation prize awarded by Salesforce. Could you tell us a little bit more about your experience with the CODE_n CONTEST?
It was amazing. The most important thing about taking part in the CODE_n CONTEST was the huge visibility it gave us.
9. What are your main tips for young or aspiring entrepreneurs?
They need to dream big and have a clear idea about how much time or effort they’re willing to invest in achieving it. The bigger the dream, the more effort it will require.
10. What are your goals for the coming years? Where do you see Aisoy in 5 years?
Aisoy will be a global leader in the new-generation EdTech ecosystem at schools, as well as in the home. Without emotion there’s no education. And we’re experts in emotional technology.
Thank you for the interesting overview. We’ll keep in touch! Greetings to the whole Aisoy team!