MIT’s Personal Robotics Group has been one of the driving forces behind social robotics since… well, since they pretty much invented social robotics. Led by Professor Cynthia Breazeal, who is also founder of social robot startup Jibo, the MIT group has built an amazing collection of smart, cute, and squishy creatures, and now they have a new one. The latest, smartest, cutest, and squishiest social robot that MIT has been testing out is named Tega, and it’s already gotten to work, adorably teaching Spanish to preschoolers.
We spoke with Jackie Kory Westlund, a Ph.D. student in the MIT Media Lab who’s been doing research with Tega, about why it’s such a useful social assistive robotics platform and how to keep preschoolers from utterly destroying it with hugs.
To provide some context for Tega, have a look at a couple of the other robotsdeveloped by MIT’s Personal Robotics Group, which is really just an excuse to post one of my favorite robot videos of all time: