SAN FRANCISCO & TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SoftBank Group Corp. (“SBG”) announced today that the company will be donating more than 100 of humanoid robot, Pepper, to schools in North America. The educational initiative launched last month and incorporates Pepper into the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and Boston Public Schools (BPS) curriculums. Donations will continue through September 2021, anticipating a gradual increase in the number of students impacted by the SoftBank Group’s ongoing educational programs.
“Pepper has been utilized in classrooms to empower education through engaging and innovative tools,” says Rikiya Yamaguchi, CSR Group Manager at SBG. “Extending our program into North America is an important step in our commitment to teach students computer science and robotics, bolster STEM*1 programs while providing this new engaging digital channel for education and research worldwide.”
Following SBG’s “Pepper Social Contribution Program” that kicked off in Japan in April 2017 more than 2,000 Peppers have been loaned to over 17,000 classrooms. With the goal of continuing to strengthen academic capabilities and possibilities in robotics and research, SBG is leveraging the experience and knowledge gained from the program in Japan to contribute to STEM education in North America, helping nurture future science and technology professionals.
“With our society increasingly reliant on computing, we believe all students must develop a strong foundation in computer science, regardless of their background or ultimate career. We help students develop skills and mindsets as creators of technology,” says Bryan Twarek, Computer Science Supervisor at SFUSD. “When the SoftBank Group approached us with this partnership, we jumped at the opportunity to bring cutting edge technologies into our classrooms.”
SBG will be working with SoftBank Robotics America (“SBRA”) to distribute Pepper in North America. Pepper has currently been donated to institutions including Simon Fraser University, the San Francisco Unified School District and Boston Public Schools. Pepper will continue to be used to support schools’ STEM outreach events and in “Invent the Future” workshops, which teach students about technology, as well as in schools as greeters and ambassadors. Additional donations and education initiatives will continue to be a part of SBG education initiatives.
“We expect Pepper will make the perfect partner to awaken the interest of our students in the fields of computer science and robotics,” says Mark Racine, Chief Information Officer at BPS. “We have been working very closely with SBG and SBRA to develop a curriculum that excites, engages and prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce.”
About the SoftBank Group
The SoftBank Group is a global technology player that aspires to drive the Information Revolution. The SoftBank Group is comprised of the holding company SoftBank Group Corp. (TOKYO:9984) and its global portfolio of companies, which includes advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. In September 2016, Arm Limited, the world's leading semiconductor IP company, joined the SoftBank Group. In May 2017, the SoftBank Vision Fund, which invests globally in the businesses and technologies that will enable the next stage of the Information Revolution, had its first major close with over USD 93 billion in committed capital. To learn more, please visit www.softbank.com.
*1 Educational policy that emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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