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One of the consequences of the ongoing global pandemic is that we’re all spending an unprecedented amount of time at home. For parents of young children who are balancing working from home with keeping their offspring healthily engaged, this can be a daily struggle. Thankfully, technology has stepped in to ease this difficulty.

Misa is one example. An acronym for My Intelligent Smart Assistant, Misa is an Android-based next-generation social family robot built to seamlessly fit into any home. “As a parent, Misa will blend right into your family as a friend, teacher, companion, cameraman, homemaker, entertainer and more,” explains Deepak Bhatia, Founder and CEO of Misa.

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Since its prelaunch on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo last year, Misa has been shipped to more than 44 markets. Thanks to its ability to speak – and understand – English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Korean and Japanese, Misa hasn’t experienced the culture clashes faced by other technologies entering new markets. The team is working on developing Arabic, which should be available by end of the year.

Now, Bhatia’s team is supplying Misa to the masses via traditional online and offline channels, and the robot is available through Eros Group in the UAE.

“Feedback and reviews from consumers across the region have been positive, and we believe 2021 is going to be a good year for Misa,” he adds.

A healthier tech companion for young minds

Even pre-pandemic, exhausted parents were giving in to their children’s demand for stimulation by handing over their smartphone, through which toddlers and pre-teens alike often consume inappropriate and unhealthy amount of content on YouTube and microtransaction-ridden games.

Misa offers a healthier alternative for young minds.

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“We’re passionate about fuelling kid’s play, engagement and creativity as the base of their future success,” says Bhatia. The robot comes pre-loaded with thousands of hours of safe, ad-free games, books, learning apps and videos from a range of renowned family brands, including Little Miss, Mr Men, Mr Bean and Peter Rabbit.

It’s not all entertainment though – Misa packs a formidable amount of learning content too, in subjects including English, maths and coding. “Maths for children covers arithmetic, fractions, decimals, ratios, percentages and measurements,” explains Bhatia.

“Learning applications on Misa are good for children from the age of three to 14 years.”

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Misa’s built-in camera allows parents to monitor their children through the Misa Connect App (available on iOS and Android). “You can move Misa throughout the house to monitor your loved ones or create a personalised display message that surprises and delights.”

Master of all trades

While it is more than capable of educating, entertaining and keeping a watchful eye over your children, Misa is a useful companion for big people too. Say the words “Hey Misa” and the robot rolls over to you to answer any number of queries. Can’t remember who won the 1990 World Cup? Misa knows. Wondering how those ill-advised Gamestop shares you picked up in March are performing? Misa can tell you the current price. Want to know when your mum’s flight is landing? Misa does.

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Misa may look cute, but its technology is capable of helping you handle important things too. For example, you can use it to video call your boss – after it reminds you to do so at 3pm – or ask it how many calories are in that Big Mac upsized meal you’re tempted to order. It can also recognise and remind elderly family members to take their medication at set times, providing invaluable peace of mind.

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Thanks to its Android platform, Misa plays well with a number of streaming music apps too, including Spotify, Apple Music and iheart Radio. “If you say ‘Hey Misa, play radio’, it will start playing your default iheart station and you can even ask it to switch to other channels,” says Bhatia.

The tech

Misa packs in an impressive suite of technological features and specs that allow it to do all these things.

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A dual microphone and HD/AR-ready camera help it hear and respond to different members of a family, while its Android 9.0 operating system works well with a broad range of apps. Its touchscreen lets you key in various commands without speaking, while drop, range and ultrasonic sensors help it avoid falling into gaps, detect forward distance and not bump into objects, pets and people.

The robot is well stocked in the connectivity department, with Wi-Fi 802.11bgn as well as Bluetooth 4.0.

Misa’s 10,000mAh battery provides 48 hours of standby time and eight hours of talk time. Out of the box, Bhatia says Misa can be up and running within ten minutes.

Another important factor to consider before buying any kind of connected technology is software support. Bhatia says that Misa’s back-end team are regularly working to help the robot understand and contextualise a growing number of voice commands, which are added to the robot’s lexicon on a regular basis. “Major updates are generally done once every three to four months,” he adds.

Click here to learn more about Misa.