Those of us of a certain age recall the wonders of Teddy Ruxpin, the talking bear toy that debuted in the mid-'80s. For its time, it was a minor miracle of cassette tape content and animatronics that heralded a new age of intelligent educational toys that never really arrived ... until now.
Meet Professor Einstein, a new crowdfunded "edutainment" robot project currently being developed by Hanson Robotics that allows you to chat with the famous wild-haired theoretical physicist in the comfort of your own home or office. It's a slightly creepy, 14.5" Wi-Fi-ready robot aimed at teaching and amusing via the cartoony likeness of the celebrity genius from whom it gets its name. Its rubbery face contorts into 50 human emotions and gestures, including sticking his tongue out, and responds via multiple sensors and a vocal interface.
Here's the official description for its optional app interface:
The Stein-O-Matic app is the user's guidebook and control system for directly engaging content. Using the app, you have access to new activities added to the Stein-O-Matic every day. In addition, Professor Einstein's robust reward system allows you to earn IQ points, which you can use to unlock special items, bonus games and avatar upgrades.
Place an iPad or Android tablet next to Professor Einstein and watch as he guides you through interactive lessons, eye-popping slideshows, daily mental kick starts, thought experiments, jokes, brain games and more.
Like Amazon's Alexa electronic personal assistant, Professor Einstein is fully-interactive and uses this special app to engage in stimulating conversations about space, science, pets, weather, trivia, movies or any number of fascinating or mundane topics. Hanson Robotics has set up a Kickstarter campaign through which you can achieve various pledge levels to gain discounts and bonus offerings. Once the funding goals are achieved, these Professor Einstein robots can be yours for $279 each.
Would you like one of your own personal geniuses targeted for the consumer market or are you fine with your Google assistant giving you bad directions to the nearest comic book store?
(via Nerd Approved)