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Children Get A New Reading Companion in This New Robot

"This robot supports an engaging reading activity, but it's not a social companion to the extent that you could have an open conversation with it."

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New interactive robot can be your kid's reading buddy. Flickr

A new interactive robot, programmed to be an interested listener, may serve as a reading companion for your kid, a new study suggests.

The new robot named “Minnie” can react, cajole and appear thoughtful, said the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, who have developed the robot.

For the study, the research team designed a two-week reading programme including 25 books representing a range of reading skills and story complexities.

According to the team, the children grew more excited about books and more attached to the robot over two weeks of reading together.

“After one interaction, the kids were generally telling us that, sure, it was nice to have someone to read with as a reading companion,” said co-author Joseph Michaelis from the varsity.

Robot, Reading Companion
FILE – A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai (VOA)

“But by the end of two weeks, they were talking about how the robot was funny and silly and afraid, and how they’d come home looking forward to seeing it again,” he added.

The number of children who told the robot has a personality or emotions increased more than four-fold over the two weeks they spent with the robot, the researchers said.

The number reporting they were motivated to read also spiked — and surpassed a control group following a paper-based version of the reading programme. And kids who read with the robot said they felt like they understood and remembered more about the shared books, they added.

Also Read: AI Robots to Help the Students of Japan in Enhancing English Speaking Skills

Social learning — pairing up with a peer to complete math problems or read a chapter in a textbook — is a powerful way to help students develop skills and interests, suggests the findings published in the journal Science Robotics.

“This robot supports an engaging reading activity, but it’s not a social companion to the extent that you could have an open conversation with it. If you had a much more capable robot, that picture might change,” co-author Bilge Mutlu, Professor at the varsity noted.(IANS)

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5G Smartphones Priced Around $150 To Be Unveiled By End of This Year: Huawei President

An estimated 5 million 5G capable smartphones were sold in December 2019 alone

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Smartphones
Additionally, Chinese local research agencies suggested that 20 per cent of all mid range smartphones will support 5G, thanks to the expansion of the network in the country. Pixabay

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s President for 5G product line, Yang Chaobin believes that 5G smartphones priced around $150 are expected to be launched by the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

Huawei, along with its sub-brand Honor, has launched a number of 5G smartphones in 2019, including Mate 30 5G series, Mate 20 X 5G, Mate X 5G, Nova 6 5G, Honor V30 series, among others, news portal GizmoChina reported on Friday.

Recently, the company announced that it has shipped 6.9 million units of 5G smartphones as of December 2019, in addition to offering end-to-end 5G solutions. Additionally, Chinese local research agencies suggested that 20 per cent of all mid range smartphones will support 5G, thanks to the expansion of the network in the country.

An estimated 5 million 5G capable smartphones were sold in December 2019 alone. It is expected that more than 20 per cent of the smartphones under $290 will be 5G-enabled this year.

By 2021, the same statistics are expected to be applicable across the globe. Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun recently announced the company is planning to pump $7 billion in 5G, AI and IoT over the next five years.

Earlier, Lei had also revealed that the company is planning to release more than 10 5G phones this year. US-based investment banking and financial service company Goldman Sachs has also forecasted a hefty 200 million 5G smartphone shipments globally this year.

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s President for 5G product line, Yang Chaobin believes that 5G smartphones priced around $150 are expected to be launched by the end of 2020 or in early 2021. Wikimedia Commons

The new predicted value is about 20 times more than the sales figure of 2019.

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According to the estimates, there will be about 1 million new 5G base stations in China this year. This is higher than the original 600,000 prediction by Goldman Sachs. (IANS)