Is It a Tutor, a Child Monitor or a Toy? No, It’s a Kibot (AsiaD Demo)

Meet Kibot, the brand new “kid’s robot,” from Korea Telecom. Though mixing games and education is nothing new, the company hopes that this plastic monkey will push the boundaries of learning hardware.

Korea Telecom demoed the Kibot at AsiaD, showing how the monkey can read books and sing nursery songs (in Korean) to your kid.

Kibot plays language learning games on its touchscreen belly, and if your children don’t interact with it for a few minutes, it will get bored and roam the house looking for a playmate.

Kibot’s aim is to keep kids interacting and learning — which hopefully abates any creepiness about having a child-seeking robot in the home.

Though Kibot primarily serves children ages three through seven, some features are definitely aimed at parents. Not only can they call their children to video chat, they can control the Kibot and use it to watch their children remotely.

How does it work?

After it’s switched on, the Kibot’s monkey body becomes a control panel. Holding the left ear views the next story, song or game. Holding the right ear goes back to the content you just left — an interface that makes sense if you’re used to reading Korean rather than English.

Kibot’s nose doubles as an RFID reader for special Kibot books. Swipe one and it will start reading the book aloud. There are also word cards, to teach vocabulary, and telephone cards, which allow the child to call only numbers that parents have pre-registered.

The Kibot is currently available only in South Korea. Korea Telecom hopes its smartphone-like revenue model will be a hit with parents. Kibot requires an ongoing service plan, and the add-on games, songs and stories are all for purchase.

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