If NUWA Robotics has any say in your future, your family’s next friend will be a robot. The Taiwanese AI company is bringing Kebbi Air, a multi-functional social robot to market.
Educational robots have demonstrated their crucial role in pandemics. It’s expected that the need for educational robots like Kebbi Air will increase in the wake of COVID-19. According to the company, the 2nd generation Kebbi Air is on the path to surpass its initial sales of 6,000 models in the end of 2019.
The rapid increase in infection cases seen in last month is likely to deal a huge blow to states’ school reopening plans. Parents, as well, have struggled to find the time and resources to keep their children’s academic learning going at a time when in-person instruction is limited.
Enter Kebbi Air.
The Kebbi was designed to act as a teacher and playmate for young children. The robot is equipped with a computer monitor screen that displays learning materials, videos, and games, and can entertain children with singing and dancing.
The latest built-in STEAM education program is what sets Kebbi Air apart from its previous model. The second generation is a considerable improvement in terms of software structure and user experience. “We made the 2nd generation Kebbi more user friendly, and added more development tools for our customers so they can use their own content with our robot,” Leo Guo, CEO of NUWA Robotics, told SparkampLab in an interview.
The android comes with facial and voice recognition capabilities, so it can recognize and respond to each family member. It can also distinguish 400 different objects. What’s more, it can understand body language and can teach English or other subjects like computer programming to children.
In light of the pandemic, the company quickly responded by adding a temperature sensor to Kebbi Air that can detect a person’s body temperature. So far, Guo noted that the new feature has received positive feedback from the market.
Kebbi was the brainchild of Guo, a father who has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, and previously worked for Softbank, Foxconn, and Pegatron. When asked about the idea, Guo told SparkampLab that his action stemmed from a guilty conscience because he was not able to spend enough time with his daughter. He came up with the idea to create a social companion to keep her company.
Partnered with Foxconn and Xiaomi Corp, NUWA has adopted a market expansion strategy in Taiwan, Japan, and China. The CEO has stated that one of the company’s main aims is to provide a cost-effective robot for schools and students.
Since 2019, NUWA has shifted its focus back to its home market, with an ambitious goal of having a Kebbi Air in every household in Taiwan. The country has between 7 and 8 million households, which is quite a big market to sell to.
Social robots have been identified as one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019 and the social robot market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.75% over the forecast period to reach US$699.18 million by 2023. The Xiaomi invested startup is looking to break even by the end of 2020 with estimated revenue of USD 11.6 million. Having raised US$12 million in the first and second rounds of funding, NUWA Robotics have plans for a third round in the next 6 months.
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