Why toddlers love a giggly robot

Researchers made Qrio giggle after kids touch it on the head. The result: endless giggling. Source: University of California, San Diego

You know that toddlers love to giggle. But did you know they love to giggle at robots that giggle?

In this Spectrum story, Morgen E. Peck reports that entertainment robots can charm toddlers for weeks, even months, and could be useful to teachers as educational assistants. Maybe these giggly robots could also become the babysitters of the future?

From the article:

Qrio, the dancing, bouncing, giggling robot spawn of Sony Corp., tried out its social skills on a group of children between 10 months and 24 months old at the Early Childhood Education Center at the University of California, San Diego, as part of a study on how children socialize with robots. The researchers found that the key to Qrioâ''s popularity was its ability to move and respond to the children in a way that was closely timed to the activity around it.

PS: As Spectrum reported a while ago, Qrio has done other impressive things in addition to entertaining toddlers. It "has played golf at a pro tournament in Hawaii, acted in the Japanese TV show 'Astro Boy,' danced and sung on stages from Las Vegas to Hong Kong, and even conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in a rousing rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony."

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