Woobo is an interactive, educational robot companion designed with a unique combination of technology and plush. Woobo's fluffy frame houses not only an embedded and Wi-Fi connected screen, but also multiple sensors to allow for natural and playful interactions. With a kid-friendly question and answer software, update-able content, and a friendly personality including 100+ facial expressions, Woobo serves a friendly launchpad for learning. Woobo also includes a parent app that directly interfaces with the toy and allows parents to send voice messages and set up daily routines.
The Woobo Team took on the challenge of bringing an imaginary friend to life. Because Woobo is a unique product with cutting-edge technology and untested application, Woobo required close cross-disciplinary collaboration between designers, AI engineers, educators, and manufacturers. Focusing on creating meaningful interactions to inspire curiosity and support exploration, designers forged clear goals. First, Woobo should be a fun-loving companion for kids with strong entertainment and educational value. Woobo should support parents by lending a helping hand and encouraging kids to establish healthy habits. Woobo should give educators a platform to communicate with children in a fun, interactive way. Lastly, the execution of the design must be feasible to make as it requires complex technology with a long development time. We approached these goals by working closely with kids, parents, and educators to find innovative solutions.
Why is the Design Unique?
Woobo is an integration of hardware, software, and character. Super soft plush material ensures that Woobo's body is both huggable and durable enough to withstand drops. Multiple embedded sensors allow kids to discover fun ways to interact with Woobo including a microphone for speech recognition, light, touch, IR, and shake sensors. Woobo's AI software allows for kid-friendly question and answers capabilities created for children. Woobo screen can display both contents and 100+ facial expressions which give emotional depth and empathy to interactions. The control interface seamlessly blends into the appearance of woobo to be more believable as children's imaginary friend.
Woobo tested in over 100 homes to ensure a fun and easy interaction with children. Kids simply click Woobo's ear and ask a question or request something from the library of content like a song, story, game, or joke. Woobo's clickable silicone ears also light up with LEDs to show emotion and enhance gameplay. If kids have a difficult time pronouncing the right word for speech recognition to understand, they can also squeeze Woobo's hand to view and select from an easy-to-use, interactive touchscreen interface. For parents, an app provides insight into the toy's content and allows for personalization.
Designed for both parents and kids
Woobo's content is also carefully curated so parents do not have to worry about what their children can access through the toy. We also created a parenting app which works with Woobo to create opportunities for parents to stay connected with their children throughout the day. Woobo helps with friendly reminders about healthy habits, so as kids grow more independent, they have a friend to practice with! Parents can also keep connected with their little ones by using the voice messaging functions on both the parenting app and Woobo itself.
Benefit to Society
Woobo's growing content library and ability to connect to the Internet allows for a toy that grows with children, supports personalization, and is update-able. Woobo Inc.'s proprietary AI technology is built to support learners, encourage question-asking, and is pushing the boundaries of what informal learning could look like by blending play and exploration. The positive companionship provided by Woobo may also have benefits in the areas of Autism Spectrum research. Woobo Inc. conducted interviews with 20+ parents of children on the Autism Spectrum and received positive feedback for Woobo's routine and Q&A functionality. The novel and friendly platform Woobo provides, as well as Woobo's cuddly personality and interactivity has great potential for both educators and caregivers.