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The first toddlers-optimized, AI-based social robot supporting early and friendly 2nd language acquisition

Project description

Robot teaches toddlers second language

Children around the world start learning English as a second language in primary school. But preschool age (1-4 years) is a critical period for learning a second language. Early second language learning in toddlers is effective when associated with social interaction and curiosity stimulation. Existing solutions are ineffective, not scientifically validated, and often costly. The EU-funded ROBOTOD project will develop an innovative robot that is simple and appealing to the infant, not dependent on screens or speech recognition, cost-affordable and academically validated. Loaded with artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors, the innovation aims to support toddlers’ physical interactions and teamwork with parents and stimulate child curiosity. The robot relies on the linguistic experience of Helen Doron.


Language skills are a top priority for the modern society. Yet English as a second language learning is progressively starting at earlier ages in public schools (e.g. 6-8 years in EU) many children around the world are missing the critical period (1-4 years old), in which a second language can be acquired as a second mother tongue, and starting too late causes failures and frustration to both children & parents. To be effective, early second language learning in toddlers (1-4 years) requires social interaction and curiosity stimulation. Current solutions (mostly non-interactive, screen-based apps.) are: ineffective for toddlers as optimized for school children (>6 years); not academically validated; in most cases unaffordable. Curiosity Robotics (CR) offers a disruptive solution: a plush-like novel robot (RoboTod), simple and appealing to the infant and loaded with AI and sensors, supporting personalization and long-term interactions. RoboTod will support infants’ physical interactions and teamwork with parents, teaching English As A Second Language while simultaneously stimulating child curiosity. RoboTod is optimized for toddlers, not dependent on screens or speech-recognition, cost-effective (4-20 fold cheaper than competitors), and with a rich content academically validated by over 30 years of linguistic experience of Helen Doron (over 1,000 schools and 155,000 students). After fully developed in phase 1-phase 2 projects (2019-2021), RoboTod will first target Europe (>7 million potential users, €0.9 billion market) and then China (€4 billion market) by following a B2B2C strategy, starting in schools of its strategic partner Helen Doron (850 schools in Europe) combined with local partners for distribution, shipping and customer’s support. Robotod´s market launch is foreseen for Q3 2021, achieving 5-year cumulative revenue of €60.1 million, while contributing to the European Council priority of ´enhancing the learning of languages´ across Europe.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
4659445 HERZLIYA

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00