STEMMates Learning Companion Robot
STEMMates is an NSF funded project in in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin HCI Lab. The STEMMate robot is a desktop sized robot designed as a learning companion for in-home use by middle school students. We use the commercially available Misty Robot as the platform for the STEMMate robot to increase student engagement and interest in reading and science learning. The STEMMates project expands on our prior work to use the strong social connection students find while working with the robot to promote interest and learning while reading science related books. In Phase 1 of the project we're designing robot interactions around 20 books, and creating a massive library of robot comments to deliberately support children's understanding of their reading, social connections with the robot, and interest in science. In Phase 2, we will deploy the robot for month long field testing with children in their homes. We'll continue to build on this work with PATHWiSE teacher tool.
This work builds off our prior work with the Minnie robot (CHI 2017, Science Robotics 2018 and IDC 2019) to expand how we utilize the social interactions while reading with the robot. We hope to deploy the system in 2021.
For the robot to "read" with the child, we add AprilTags to the books and kids scan them to hear what the robot has to say. We select a variety of science related books that have a wide range of reading difficulty, science content, length and styles. We try to have something everyone will enjoy reading.