Education Robotics has rapidly developed over the past ten years and is forecast to continue strong growth over the next decade. STEAM is driving growth in the market for ‘full-stack’, integrated robotics solutions and the rise of artificial intelligence is advancing education robot capabilities as well as non-physical alternatives such as voice interaction devices.
Robots typically have 3 defining characteristics – they are mechanical in construction, contain electrical componentry and are programmable. Robots can be further categorized by appearance and degree of autonomy. The robotics category is broadly defined as mechanical, electrical and either intelligent or programmable. While some are adopting humanoid form, the majority are modular construction or play-based learning forms. With the rise of smart devices, the line between what is a robot and what is simply a programmable device has become blurred.
Robotics in education is currently a $1.3B market, set to grow to $3.1B by 2025. As governments increasingly mandate STEM in K12 curriculums, companies are positioning themselves to offer ‘full-stack’ solutions.
The recent acquisition of LittleBits by Sphero, large Chinese VC funding for MakeBlock and PiTop’s recent capital raising are evidence of a maturing landscape in this historically fragmented market. Market leaders like LEGO and new adjacent entrants such as DJI are also poised to drive innovation and expansion at scale.
Recent breakthroughs in AI for vision, language and voice have made humanoid robots increasingly lifelike. Some believe this will unlock new applications in which a robot can replace or collaborate with a human but requires a high-degree of human-likeness.
AI-powered robots have the ability to assist in developing linguistic skills and vocabulary by real world interaction and personalization. Humanoid robots increasingly have the potential to perform social functions due to the increasing linguistic and emotional sensitivity capabilities that AI brings. Emerging applications can be seen in special education, retail and other service settings.
Digital transformation remains high on the agenda for HE institutions around the world, bringing both challenges and opportunities.
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