The most successful learners were taught by highly empathic teachers. Empathy, an essential human quality for every relationship, is especially essential in educational contexts, enabling teachers to adapt to the learning pace of children. In EMOTE, we set the challenge to create empathic robotic tutors.

In EMOTE, we researched how robot tutors that respond to learners can offer a new and exciting approach to learning. Human teachers respond to a myriad of cues and a key aspect for the human teacher-learner experience is empathy, with teachers understanding when learners are confused or puzzled and responding appropriately. Now, with the advent of social robotics, robot tutors will be able to do just that. Our robot tutors have personal, human elements that enable them to interact with and engage children to enhance and support their learning in a more natural way than earlier technologies. With the robots exchanging emotional cues with the children, the learning experience becomes much more fun and engaging. Children have used our robot tutors in real classroom and field trip settings, engaging with them and enjoying this novel learning experience. EMOTE stands for EMbOdied-perceptive Tutors for Empathy-based learning. More info on the project website.

Project coordinator: Ginevra Castellano.

Principal investigators: Ruth Aylett, Wolmet Barendregt, Arvid Kappas, Ana Paiva.

Team: EMOTE team is constituted by 37 talented people from both the academic and industrial worlds. A full list of the team can be accessed here.

Institutions: Heriot-Watt University, INESC-ID, Jacobs University, University of Birmingham, University of Gothenburg, University of Sunderland.

Funding: This work was supported by the European Commission and funded by the EU FP7 ICT-317923.