Human-Robot Playmate


Children are often exposed to leisurely screen time, for example, watching television or Youtube videos. Kids with excessive screen time have speech, gesture, and eye contact delays in development. Excessive screen time is also linked to poor sleep and being overweight. As kids get older, the internet becomes more dangerous mentally due to strangers online and comparison on social media.

This human-robot playmate serves as a caretaker and entertainer for children 1-10. It is programmed to use human mannerisms and behaviors. The human-robot playmate makes eye contact, speaks, and plays with children like a parent. The robot might play blocks with a 2-year-old and soccer with a 7-year-old. It carries a wealth of knowledge from online sources and can help the child learn. It is programmed to only display positive and desirable behavior, and it keeps kids busy doing things in real life rather than through a screen. Parents can turn on the playmate when they need a break and can feel confident that the robot will do exactly as it is programmed.


  1. What a good design conjecture! This one really made me think. It makes me feel like we lack human connection, and it’s sad that your solution is also less connection – but that’s what makes it such a shockingly good conjecture. I think that a key takeaway to think about with this concept is the fact that kids need more human interaction…and we are all so focused on tech that nobody ever has the time to have face to face interaction…so much so that we may all grow up with a robot best friend in the future, as seen in this design conjecture. Could you imagine the impact that this would have on our development? This conjecture points out lots of societal issues. First, we are addicted to technology…second, we are overworked. We are overworked because we have the technology…which causes us to work around the clock. Things are faster; in the past, they were much slower and ran on business hours. Now we can finish something and email it “right over” at midnight. I think that your issue with kids with too much screen time shows that there is an issue with parents with too much screen time at work. This causes them to be so tired that they’d rather “relax” (aka look at their phones/screens) at the end of the day and allow their kids to “relax” as well. But is this really a solution…a robot best friend? To be blunt…I can see a person growing up thinking that their parents didn’t care about them enough, so much that they’d rather they connect with a robot playmate than with them. Think about how much of a burden you would feel if your parents got you this. It makes me feel like they view their time as so precious that they couldn’t dare waste it on their kids. So, with that being said, maybe you could focus on both the parent and the kid’s excessive screentime, with an emphasis on creating a solution that would lead to a greater connection between the two. This could also be focused on some sort of physical activity so that both the child and parent get a healthy amount of exercise.