The Raspberry Pi has proven to be a fantastic educational tool. That said, you can teach a lot more than programming with this popular SBC. Maker and developer Oscar Julian Perdomo Charry is using a Raspberry Pi to power a robotic dog called Robins as a teaching aid to help deaf children learn Spanish.
The name is derived from the phrase “robot interactivo para niños sordos” in Spanish for “interactive robot for deaf children.” The dog has a soft, plush exterior and a 3D-printed frame inside that can be controlled by the Raspberry Pi. It also has a touchscreen interface for the children to interface with various games and activities oriented toward teaching Spanish.
Robins is fitted with two OAK-D cameras that rely on artificial intelligence. One interprets sign language while the other monitors the user’s face for various emotions while completing the activities. The robotic dog can also respond to the user’s progress in real-time with expressions by moving its mouth, eyes, and eyebrows.
The robotic frame can be 3D-printed and is available for users to download and modify on the project page at Hackster. The main board used to power Robins is a Raspberry Pi 4B. The eyes are made from LCD screens, which allow Robins to respond with more animated expressions.
Because the project is intended for deaf children, the activities are focused on more reading-based aspects of language learning. The idea is to help children build strong vocabularies with attention given to spelling and grammar. No audio is necessary for the activities.
We’re always excited to see how the Raspberry Pi can help people in all walks of life. Overall, this is an impressive creation with many unique functions tailored to the deaf community. To get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original project page at Hackster. You can also find demo videos of it in action over at YouTube.