The Solution to Our Nation’s STEM Problems? A Huggable, Talking Robot

By Ross Brenneman — October 09, 2014 1 min read
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Look at your child’s stuffed animal. What has that animal done for your child lately? Has it taught your child biology? Physics? Algebra? No, because it is not TROBO, the huggable, talking, teaching robot.

One of the latest Kickstarter education successes, TROBO the storytelling robot just earned its creators over $60,000 to cover development and manufacturing costs. Florida engineers and fathers Jeremy Scheinberg and Christopher Harden designed TROBO* to be a plush doll that also talks thanks to a corresponding app, set to be available on devices operating with Apple iOS.

But in place of the normal conversational tones you’d find with the average talking stuffed doll, TROBO deals in the STEM subjects. Children use the app to play through a handful of STEM lessons, while the TROBO doll talks them through those stories.

Harden and Scheinberg felt that many current apps don’t offer children enough learning opportunities.

“As engineers, we spent our careers working for amazing storytellers like Disney, Lego, and Electronic Arts,” Harden says in the Kickstarter introduction. “But more importantly, as fathers, we longed for a toy that could let us share our love for learning with our children.”

The developers currently have only five stories that children can work through, but plan to use the funds and successive revenue to develop many more.

The toy is meant for children ages 2-7, so you can’t expect TROBO to teach your child advanced trigonometry or JavaScript (yet). TROBO can teach children how honey is made, but not about the birds and the bees.

TROBO comes in two different color schemes and will eventually retail for $70, but more importantly, TROBO loves you.

*It’s an anagram for robot, you see.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.