Minnie is a desktop sized robot designed as a learning companion for in-home use by middle school students. The STEM Interest Lab, in collaboration with the HCI Lab, designed Minnie to increase student engagement and interest in reading and science learning. We utilized both Human Robot Interaction and Interest Development research literature to implement several design features to facilitate interest development in reading. Our latest publication in Science Robotics describes how children develop a deepening social connection with Minnie over the course of a two-week in-home interaction where they begin to ascribe emotional and personality traits to the robot. We also found that children described Minnie as fun, helpful, and enjoyable; and also beneficial for understanding the stories they read. All of these elements are thought to support or maintain the development of interest in a domain. Our next steps with Minnie will attempt to use the strong social connection students find while working with Minnie to promote interest and learning while reading a science textbook.
Media Coverage of Minnie
Our recent Science Robotics article has been featured in several media reports. Click on a logo below to link to each report.