How The Smithsonian’s New Helpers Will Make Going To The Museum Even More Fun

"Pepper will help guide their educational experience."

Have you ever had a robot as a tour guide? At the Smithsonian's museums, now you can.

The 25 robots, all named Pepper, are located at The Hirshhorn Museum and three other Smithsonian institutions in Washington D.C., CNN reports, noting that "Pepper has limited functionality. It won't go off script but can tell guests a story, give them more information about a piece of art or 'do something fun,' like play music and dance with guests."

In terms of Pepper's knowledge, the robot can answer commonly asked questions and make gestures. There's also an interactive touchscreen for users. 

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"For example, at the National Museum of African Art, Pepper will translate Kiswahili phrases in its upcoming World on the Horizon exhibit. The galleries in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will host Peppers that are programmed to increase interaction between visitors and docents, while its teen educational space ARTLAB+ will use the robots to teach students coding and software engineering. Meanwhile, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Pepper will help attract and orient visitors to the Rosa Parks virtual-reality experience," the Smithsonian reports in a statement. 

And "Rachel Goslins, Smithsonian's director for the Arts and Industries Building, hopes Pepper's presence will encourage people to be more engaged as they walk through the galleries," CNN adds. 

In a tweet, Smithsonian also explains that it is the first museum complex to use Pepper, which was created by Softbank.

"By interacting with museum visitors and providing insight on different exhibits, Pepper will help guide their educational experience through the Smithsonian that they otherwise might have missed out on," Steve Carlin, chief strategy officer of Softbank Robotics, said in the Smithsonian's statement.

And apparently, Pepper's already impressing the boss:

We can wait to see what Pepper has to offer and hope that the robot makes museum-going an even more entertaining experience.

Cover image: Alex Knight / Unsplash

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