Robot teacher comes to Japan

“Saya” can even smile—or frown

If shrinking pensions weren’t enough, here’s a new development that is sure to send a quiver down the spine of educators: Robot teachers. “Saya”—currently being tested at a Toyko primary school—can take attendance, speak different languages, set out a variety of tasks and even make facial expressions. She is the product of 15 years of research, and the latest example of the humanoid, which was developed to replace workers in the face of an aging population as well as cut costs. With an investment of US$35 million, the Japanese government is aiming to put a robot in every home by 2015.