The Research Behind Moxie
At Embodied, our team of experts including engineers, roboticists, neuroscientists, child development specialists, and creative storytellers, have been working for the past several years to rethink and reinvent how we utilize human-machine interaction to fuel new ways of interacting and learning. Drawing on evidence-led science and our combined expertise, we’ve developed a new revolutionary robot to help children: Moxie.
Powered by our platform, SocialX™, Moxie is able to perceive, process and respond to natural conversation, eye contact, facial expressions and other behavior as well as recognize and recall people, places, and things to create a unique and personalized learning experience for your child. SocialX™ includes cloud-based software, software that is included in the parent App which is downloadable onto a user’s phone as well as software downloaded onto the robot Moxie.
SocialXChat™ is a part of our SocialX™ platform that stimulates conversations between the user and Moxie. It utilizes artificial intelligence to assist Moxie in replying verbally and non-verbally to questions from users who are interfacing with Moxie. SocialXChat™ includes cloud-based software, software that is included in the parent App which is downloadable onto a user’s phone, as well as software downloaded onto the robot.
Our state-of-the-art platform combined with content informed by best practices in child development, come together to create a revolution in learning for children.
How does a robot help with learning?
How does this compare with other ways of learning?
Looking across 65 studies comparing embodied agents (e.g. robots) vs. non-embodied agents. Robots significantly outperformed non-embodied agents in 78.5% of the studies:
This looked at both objective task performance AND user experience.
*See footnotes 1-6 for studies referenced
What else does research say?
Children like robots! Robots can engage and motivate children. They’ll anthropomorphize robots with life-like characteristics, states and rights.7 They form friendships and share thoughts.8,9 This type of engagement can help children with learning.
Numerous studies (over 12,500 peer-reviewed articles!) also show strong scientific evidence that robots can help children improve social skills.
*See footnotes 10-14 for studies referenced
So, I know my child will play with a robot, but what skills can my child learn?
*See footnotes 15-19 for studies referenced
Personalization of the interaction through machine learning and AI increases learning gains. Hear more from our expert on individualized interactions:
Any additional benefits to using robots?
*See footnotes 20-22 for studies referenced
So what research is there about Moxie specifically?
In our preliminary studies, we’ve found that interactions with Moxie may help children improve in developing social and emotional skills. We summarize the findings from these preliminary studies below, and will be expanding our research beyond these preliminary studies to further explore how robots like Moxie might help children in a range of abilities. Moxie is not a medical device, but is intended to help promote general social, emotional, and cognitive development through play-based learning.
In our first preliminary study, our on-staff Doctor of Occupational Therapy observed a group of children (twelve in total) who interacted with Moxie (3 times a week for 15 minutes) over a period of 6 weeks in the Spring of 2019. Assessments were made before and after their time with Moxie and improvements in key subjective and objective criteria used to evaluate the participating children were found in the following areas:
Based on this small, but encouraging, study, we then launched our Moxie Pioneer Mentor Program as a second preliminary study. To our knowledge, this is one of the largest studies to date in observing how a companion robot, like Moxie, can help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development among a neurodiverse group of children between the ages of 5-10. More than 50 families from across the country volunteered to participate in the program, with children spending time engaging in meaningful daily play with Moxie and parents providing ongoing feedback to the Embodied team. To explore Moxie’s impact on skill development, parents completed standardized assessments including the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS)23 and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2)24. The SSIS evaluates social skills, problem behaviors, and academic competence, while the SRS-2 identifies the presence and severity of social impairment within the autism spectrum and differentiates it from that which occurs in other disorders. Assessments were completed one month prior to receiving Moxie, again right before Moxie arrived, and again after one month of interacting with Moxie. Confidential assessments were completed online and then scored and analyzed by our on-staff Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
A total of 51 families completed pre- and post-assessments and were included in our analysis. Findings indicate that after one month of interacting with Moxie:
- 71% of children made SOME improvement in social skills
- 50% of children made SIGNIFICANT improvement in social skills
- 69% of children made SOME improvement in behavior
- 49% of children made SIGNIFICANT improvement in behavior
- Neurotypical and Neurodiverse children improved equally on social skills
- Biggest areas of change: communication, social engagement, emotion regulation
“Some” improvement refers to a change of 1-4 points in social or behavioral skills from the baseline pre-arrival assessment to the final post-assessment score. “Significant” improvement refers to a change of 5 points or greater in social or behavioral skills using the same metrics. Anecdotally, many parents reported behavioral changes in their child since they first started engaging with Moxie. Changes included reports that children seemed to feel happier and less lonely, were better able to cope with their emotions and calm themselves down when upset, were more polite and helpful, expressed their thoughts and feelings more clearly, and exhibited greater interest in the thoughts and feelings of others.
We will be expanding our research beyond these preliminary findings to further explore how robots like Moxie might help children in a range of abilities. Moxie is not a medical device, but is intended to help promote general social, emotional, and cognitive development through play-based learning. The preliminary studies involved small sample sizes and may not be indicative of actual results. The results of a child’s interaction with Moxie may vary. Individual children may or may not directly benefit from interacting with Moxie and may not demonstrate any observable behavioral changes after using Moxie. Families were not compensated for their participation in our preliminary studies. For further details on our initial preliminary study, you can view our 2020 white paper which is available here.
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