The news appeared on Discovery News on May 31st , 2012

Everyone had that one teacher in high school who you swore was a robot. Dull lectures delivered in a monotone voice all but invited you to snooze away the class, drooling on your desk.
On the other hand, we've all had those teachers we loved; ones who were engaging, creative and inspired us us to explore our creativity. They may not have stood on desks or demand we rip excremental introductions from our text books, but bottom line, they held our attention.
While they're certainly not going to get a lot of thumbs up from those in the teaching profession, Bilge Mutlu and Dan Szafir from the University of Wisconsin have created this: a robot teacher that uses engaging techniques to help improve how much information a student retains.
"We wanted to look at how learning happens in the real world," Mutlu told New Scientist. "What do human teachers do and how can we draw on that to build an educational robot that achieves something similar?"
So the duo programmed a Wakamaru humanoid robot to narrate a story to students, one-on-one, and test them to see how much they retained. Mutlu and Szafir used a $200 EEG sensor to monitor students' engagement levels. The sensors monitored the FP1 area of the brain that manages learning and concentration. If there was a dip in the student's attention level, the system signaled the robot and triggered a cue.
Such attention-regaining cues could be anything from the robot raising its voice, making arm gestures, to pointing at itself or listeners. For example, during the reading of the Japanese folk tale, My Lord Bag of Rice, the robot used its arms to indicate a high mountain.


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