Technology In Colmar, a robot soothes and fascinates the children of a medico-educational institute

In Colmar, a robot soothes and fascinates the children of a medico-educational institute

For six months now, the children of the Medico-Educational Institute (IME) Pays de Colmar have the right to an original welcome when they arrive in the morning. Indeed, not everyone has the chance to be greeted by a singing and dancing robot. This new friend made of electric wires is called Nao and was created by a French company.

Red, blue, gray, white, round head, luminous eyes and ears, this humanoid companion fascinates and soothes the children of the IME: “What we have really seen is that young people are interested and intrigued by the robot, which allows them to be channeled. Young people are more composed and interested and suddenly participate more at this time of the day ”, says Aurélie Weber, special education teacher.

At a price of € 14,000, getting this robot is not within everyone’s reach. The IME Pays de Colmar was able to afford it thanks to donations from a group of local patrons. So the institute is determined to make this purchase profitable by multiplying the uses of Nao: “Concretely, this robot will allow the child to acquire routines, automatisms, to develop language, social skills. It is really to use Nao as a mediator in communication”, develops Bertrand Depierre-Bassanelli, director of the IME.

And since he’s been here, the benefits of his presence are being felt on young people. Captivated, they are more attentive and perform the exercises better. Morgane Herbelot, specialist educator, has just completed a yoga class with Nao and the children, she details the benefits of this new friend: “We will work on psychomotricity with yoga, we will also work on colors, communication, exchanges and everything related to imitation as well. Thanks to Nao, it is easier for them to imitate him than to imitate us. They are really picked up by the robot. ”

Over time, Nao should therefore take up more space in learning, as is already done in Canada for example.

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