April 26, 2005

"Baizhixing": Guiding Children In Body Language, Sans Human Body

The Chinese contribution to the creepy robot parade:

4733953416440374-1 Engadget is right: this does look like an aged, pudgy, and stoned version of Jen the Gelfling. Sadly, it's not; this is “Baizhixing” (”smart star”), a Chinese addition to the gambit to use robotics as a development toy (...after Teddy Ruxpin and Furbies. Yes, I consider both Ruxpin and Furbies were development toys; Ruxpin played audio tapes with cues, which were gee-golly-whiz moralistic stories, and Furbies tended to relate to you as you acted to them.) This one's a lot more technologically advanced, and is intended to help develop body language recognition in children -- because hanging around people doesn't help.

Why is it anytime someone makes robotic alien-types, they're either killer mechanical robots or cutsie little things? Doesn't anyone think they could just be different than us, but not really cute or not cute?

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Posted by Ted Stevko at April 26, 2005 01:09 AM