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KT launches robo-buddy for kids

KT Corp. said Wednesday it will launch “kibot,” a robot for kids, on Monday, as part of plans to create a smart home.

The country’s largest fixed-line service operator said kibot will help children with their studies by reading books and singing songs to them. All children have to do is scan the radio frequency identification (RFID) card on the screen at the center of the robot, according to Seo Yu-yeol, president of the home business division at KT.

“Starting with kibot, we plan to introduce a variety of smart home services,” Seo told reporters at a press conference in downtown Seoul.

The launch of kibot is the first step in KT’s smart home establishment strategy. The company aims to change the concept of a home to a secured space which provides entertainment and educational opportunities through the convergence of wireless and fixed-line services.
KT Corp. plans to launch next week in the local market the “kibot,” an Internet-connected robot meant to serve as a child’s friend and teacher. (Chung Hee-jo/The Korea Herald)
KT Corp. plans to launch next week in the local market the “kibot,” an Internet-connected robot meant to serve as a child’s friend and teacher. (Chung Hee-jo/The Korea Herald)

The media robot, created in a joint effort with iRiver since last August, will play animation for kids and also record their parents’ voices and display photos of the children’s families and friends, said company officials.

Parents will be able to monitor their kids or keep in contact with them through the automatic video calling system using the company’s wireless Internet networks, they added.

It will be priced at 485,000 won ($448.90), excluding taxes, and it will come in two different colors, pink and gray. The monthly service charge of 7,000 won will include 100 free voice minutes for local calls and 10 free digital content downloads every month, its officials said.

“We will first only launch 1,000 of the kibots and produce a greater number when there is a demand,” said Seo. “We will also get the feedback of a group of 1,000 people and make improvements to the robot.”

Investing a sum of 4 billion won, KT made the decision to develop kibot in April last year as the number of homes equipped with wireless Internet saw a rise with the increasing number of smart device owners.

“With the launching of kibot, we plan on introducing the contents of Olleh TV on smartphones and tablet PCs by late April and offer more content which can be viewed by housewives and students in the latter half of this year,” Seo said, adding that the company expects to launch a robot for students by 2013.

(sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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