Artificial Intelligence company AKA has announced a partnership with SoftBank Robotics China that will help to bring Pepper the robot to English classrooms in China.
SoftBank’s Pepper is already one of the most popular interactive Artificial Intelligence-powered robots in the world. With more than 10,000 units sold worldwide, Pepper can be found in its capacity as a guide or information kiosk in retail outlets, banks, and hospitals.
The partnership will see AKA become the AI software provider for Pepper, as well as receiving the distribution rights to sell the robot.
Pepper already has an open, customizable platform at its heart, as well as facial recognition and emotion detection capabilities on board. AKA’s MUSE AI engine — which leverages artificial intelligence data to deliver cognitive-communication tools, like speaking, writing, facial expressions, and gestures — will be added to it to improve its ability to communicate, and customized functions have been developed by AKA to make Pepper better suited to classroom activities where it can be used as a teaching assistant.
The aim is to utilize Peppers new skills to allow it to help with computer programming lessons and for research purposes.
“We think our software has a potential to help English resources shortage in China, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities where it’s harder and more expensive to hire native English speakers as teachers,” said Raymond Jung, CEO of AKA. “Working with local tutors, AKA can help teachers to teach some extent and alleviate resource shortage issue. Its academy mode also helps teachers to manage each student’s progress more easily and accurately,” he added.