education

New assistant teacher is a robot

TeachAssit can take attendance, check files, beam presentations and act as librarian

17:46 March 14, 2017

Dubai: Schools in the UAE could soon see a new kind of assistant teacher step into the classroom — a robot that can take attendance, project presentations on to classroom walls, manage digital student files, guide them to where a book is located in the library, or even show parents to the classroom.

The ATLAB TeachAssit humanoid robot is on show till Thursday at the Global Education Supplies and Solutions expo at Dubai World Trade Centre.

ATLAB, a technology-based learning solutions company, on Tuesday announced that it will be introducing the robot in schools in Dubai and the UAE by the end of 2017. S. Senthil Kugan, director of ATLAB, told Gulf News that at least one school in Sharjah is testing it and other schools have also shown interest.

He said TeachAssit can also help children with reading difficulties, for example, read better or be a “friend” to a child with special needs, following him or her around the school.

“Innovation is a theme that is celebrated in the UAE. We want to bring in the future of education here … We will be focusing on the primary school segment and there are no security or safety threats associated with ATLAB TeachAssit,” Kugan said.

The robot’s hardware involves a humanised cloud-based robotic system of Sanbot, which was first showcased to the world at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. ATLAB said it has already started developing customised school-centric content that will power the machine to serve the requirements of educational institutions in the region.

“The software being developed using the open source platform will be customised for each school. A classroom will be transformed into a student-centric space with an aim to provide one-on-one assistance. ATLAB is acting as an education system integrator,” Kugan said.

He added that students will also be able to ask for assistance with any course-related query and the robot will immediately fetch relevant answers. It will also be able to track the progress of individual students and customise the answers to guide them accordingly.

“The robot can act as a librarian, assisting students to locate books and even manage lending, take attendance of students and guide visitors, apart from performing various other roles. The machines are one of the best we currently have and will unleash the power of cloud-enabled robotics and Artificial Intelligence to the academic community.”