The latest educational tech comes in the form of a seven-pound robot that looks like something ripped out of a Pixar movie. Moxie, an adorable educational robot, is designed for teaching kids at home. But it’s expensive: the robot itself is $1,500, and it requires a $60 monthly subscription after the first year.
Embodied, the robotics and AI company behind Moxie, says the robot will teach kids ages six through nine using weekly themes and lessons designed to promote cognitive, emotional, and social learning. Kids will be tasked with helping Moxie explore and learn human experiences and life skills, like learning new words or chatting about significant experiences like going to the dentist. Parents will be able to control Moxie through a “parent app,” which will let them check their child’s progress and limit their Moxie usage.
Privacy and security issues have been a big concern when it comes to making educational tech for kids, and Moxie is unlikely to be an exception. Moxie’s data will be encrypted, with parents or guardians being the only ones able to access the data for their particular unit, Embodied founder Paolo Pirjanian said during an interview with Fast Company. But Moxie still has a lot of tech that can be used for interacting with and monitoring those nearby: it has four microphones inside its head and a camera located on the front. Other kids’ tech, like a smart Barbie and an attempted smart kids speaker, have run into controversy due to the privacy implications of building microphones into toys meant for kids.
Several companies have tried to make friendly robots to interact with at home in recent years. There’s Aibo, Sony’s $2,900 robotic pet, plus Jibo, a family robot that was successfully crowdfunded only to flop a couple years into its life span.
Moxie is slated to be released sometime this fall. Fast Company did a deep dive into Embodied’s design process behind the product.