An interactive storytelling robot for early constructive childhood intervention


Childhood adversities can profoundly shape adult life, leading to psychological and behavioral challenges. Such experiences during the foundational years are connected with heightened risks of conditions like depression and anxiety. Stories, however, play a transformative role in a child's cognitive growth, nurturing empathy, imagination, and divergent thinking. In this work, we delve into harnessing the power of storytelling through an interactive toy—a "transitional object"—to assist children in navigating and comprehending stressors during their developmental years.


Who is Juno?

Juno is more than a plaything; it's an empathetic ally in a child's world. This intuitive companion is designed to resonate with children's feelings and narratives, bridging the gap between their silent thoughts and expressed emotions. Harnessing the prowess of advanced computer vision and machine learning, Juno astutely analyzes a child’s moods and behaviors, interpreting both overt verbal expressions and subtle non-verbal cues.

When Juno discerns a child's emotional challenges, it delves into its extensive repository of stories, selecting narratives that not only reflect the child's experience but also offer solace and guidance. These tales serve as beacons of resilience and empowerment, instilling confidence and understanding. Moreover, parents aren't left out of this emotional journey. An auxiliary app keeps them connected, offering deep insights into their child's emotional well-being. This app acts as an emotional barometer, suggesting proactive interventions based on a unique "happiness indicator." In instances where Juno detects profound emotional upheavals, the app alerts parents, prompting timely and supportive interventions.

Juno's essence lies in its ability to listen patiently, always encouraging the child to share more. Its design, both ergonomic and captivating, ensures it's an attractive yet functional presence in a child's life. With the synergy of personalized storytelling and the parental app, Juno ensures every child feels seen, heard, and cherished, preventing minor emotional hiccups from escalating into larger issues in the future.


The child has a particularly troubling day. He accidentally spills juice on his father’s file. Since no one saw him do this, he decides to not tell anyone, concerned about the consequences. He walks into his room, thinking about what transpired.

As soon as he walks in, Juno’s eyes light up. As the child moves around the room, Juno’s eyes follow, inviting the child to initiate conversation. The child approaches Juno, and when in close proximity Juno greets him.

Employing computer vision and natural language processing to identify both verbal and non- verbal cues, Juno recognizes something is awry. He asks the child if everything is fine. The child explains the events that ensued, and his eventual mistake. He confesses to fearing the consequences. Juno intently listens and processes this data.

At bedtime, when the child asks Juno to read him a story, Juno, based on the events of the past day, reads him the story of “George Washington and the cherry tree” that emphasizes on the positive consequences of honesty.

The child feels motivated to be honest and forthcoming, and the following day admits to his mistake and professes his remorse to his father


Creating Juno involved a deep dive into the world of emotional recognition. We aimed for a seamless blend of technology and empathy, ensuring that Juno didn't just detect but truly understood a child's emotions.
  1. Visual Understanding: We utilized advanced computer vision to capture facial expressions and body language. This enabled Juno to discern the subtle shifts in a child's mood, from joy to distress.
  2. Voice Analysis: Beyond just listening, Juno processes speech using natural language processing. This allows it to pick up on the sentiment behind words, recognizing the underlying emotions from a child's tone and choice of words.
  3. Integrative Approach: By combining facial recognition with tone analysis, Juno offers a holistic understanding of the child's emotional state. We harnessed machine learning and integrated IBM Watson's capabilities to enhance this interaction, ensuring Juno's responses are timely and empathetic.

At its core, Juno is powered by a curated technology stack: Node JS, Python, IBM Watson, and FaceApiJS. This ensemble ensures that Juno stands out, not just as a toy, but as an emotionally attuned companion.