Being a millennial, we have seen movies and animated cartoons where robots & artificially intelligent machines are part of the human world and effectively operating together to make things easier for us.
However, No one would have imagined that things which seemed the concept of far-future will become reality so soon. We are talking about artificial intelligence robots which are assisting humans in day to day life.
The scene comes from Indus International School of Bengaluru where class 8th students are undertaking Thermal Physics class. However, their teacher Murali Subramaniam is not in front of the class where she should be taking lectures on the green mode. Rather, she is sitting beside the children while Murali’s artificially intelligent assistant Eagle 2.0, a humanoid robot, imparts the students of the class with basic concepts of thermal physics.
“Hello everyone. Today we will focus on Thermal physics,” says Eagle 2.0 moving its head and body in robotic movements while starting to dictate the lecture to the students. Eagle begins to take the lecture while Murali sits beside the students and attend them individually at their desk in case they have a query or a problem in interacting with the artificial assistant teacher. A PowerPoint Presentation runs on the screen behind in synchronisation with the lecture of Eagle 2.0.
Eagle 2.0 robot is well dressed in a white top, a black skirt and a scarf around her neck and capable of two-way interaction. It means it can not only take lectures for students but will also take queries from the students, ask class questions and react to the answers of the students as well.
By adopting artificial intelligence technology to impart education to children, Indus International School has revolutionized how a classroom space should be. They introduced these humanoid robots as assistant teachers in class 7th 8th and 9th to teach physics chemistry, biology, geography, and history. These assistants ease the work of the teacher by working along with them. While the teacher focuses on the main topics, assistants handle the basic ones
Development of Eagle
Eagle 2.0 was not the work of an expert technology company but was built in house. The team is comprised of 17 members including content developers experienced teachers, graphic designers, Animation and Gaming Experts, Programmers who are IIT alumni, Engineers who are trained in Robotic development in China and such other experts. The team planned and worked for 2 years to develop this humanoid robot from scratch using 3D printing and assembling Technology. The main Motors have been imported from the United States which is same as the one which is installed in humanoid Sophia, world’s 1st AI humanoid robot.
“It’s a collaborative learning model that we have in place. 90% of a teacher’s time in today’s classroom is spent in preparing and delivering the content. This information can easily be generated using a search engine like Google. She is left with no time for the child, who is just considered an empty vessel that can be filled with any content. When the humanoid robot takes over the role of delivering this content, the teacher can focus on what Google can’t teach. A teacher mentors the kids teaches them how to learn provides emotional support and ignites an entrepreneurial mindset. The robot can provide what Google does, along with formative and summative assessments. Meanwhile, students can aim at self-directed learning and design thinking. The teacher orchestrates the whole classroom,” said Lt Gen Arjun Ray, CEO of Indus Trust.
Up till now, 3 search robots have been built at a cost of rupees 8 Lakh each. Moving on in this field, the school is now working on a pilot project where these humanoid robots will be programmed to work on standalone teaching so that these robots can conduct classes and take lectures even in the absence of teachers.
The project will also focus on developing the robots in a more child-friendly manner to make students interact with robots more specifically in pre-primary and primary classes as well as personal humanoids tutor for students. Also, the present humanoids are being improved in terms of technology by adding features like sensors interactive capabilities etc.
This is indeed an innovative technique adopted by the Indus Trust to impart education. We hope that this will soon become an accessible reality for all the students across India. Introduction of Artificially Intelligent Humanoid Robots in the school education system as an assistant teacher will not only ease the work of the main teacher but will also make students comfortable with the AI technology.
The future era will be equipped with such technologies like AI, AR, VR and much more and no field of human utilities will stay untouched from these changes. Introduction of Eagle 2.0 in Indus School is an instance of the same.