Amazon’s Alexa Fund Invests in Educational Robotics Startup Embodied

Published by , January 15, 2018 2:40 pm

(ELearningInside)  Alexa Fund, Amazon’s corporate venture fund focused on AI, has acquired Embodied, which is firmly rooted in the education market. Embodied was founded by Maja Matarić who is Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. She is the founding director of the university’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center (RASC), Co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab, and Vice Dean for Research at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
As the CB Insights report observes, “Nearly all Alexa Fund investments so far have a potential integration into Alexa’s smart home voice controls.” On this basis, it seems likely that Amazon is looking to use Embodied as a potential way to develop Alexa for use in socially assistive robots that hold the potential to work with children, people with disabilities, and potentially with the elderly. Given the enormous potential of creating assistive devices for these groups and the expected growth in demand for assistive robots for the elderly over the coming decades, the investment appears to make perfect sense.

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