Montey to star at Gaudeamus! Meet him at Stand 51
When you visit the Prague College stand at Gaudeamus in Brno this week, make sure to say a big hello to the latest member of our admissions team. Meet Montey, the brainchild of Future Design student Laura Kuklova.
Montey is an interactive 'emotional companion', created as a result of a participatory design process with children. A robotic buddy who incorporates artificial intelligence and machine-learning, Montey's aim is to assist children in overcoming pressure from their daily lives by helping with their school routines and social issues.
We spoke to Laura about her invention:
What first gave you the idea for Montey, and why did you choose the name?
The idea is rooted in my own childhood, because as an only child I was often talking with some forms of imaginary friends or my own alter ego. Prague College’s Future Design programme gave me the opportunity to work on this idea and bring it to life. I used my classmates' side-project 'Montey' to run a 'Wizard of Oz' design method with children, and since they all loved the name, I decided to keep it.
What was it like cooperating with the children as part of the creative process?
I had experience working with younger children, so I was nervous at the beginning to work with older ones. But luckily, they all loved Montey and really enjoyed the whole process, so I was more than pleasantly surprised. I hope that I will be able to bring Montey to life in the way the children and I want to. Most of the feedback I am getting so far is very positive and gives me trust in my project. I hope I will be able to connect children and design in my future and find a way which both the children and I will enjoy.
What was the most helpful thing you learnt about yourself during the Montey project?
I had a lot of hard, desperate, moments as well as a lot of happy and relieved moments, so I think the most important experience I got is to never give up, keep working hard and being able to accept others' help.
What appealed to you about the Master's programme at Prague College?
I appreciate the fact that we got support to work on our project even when they were a bit crazy or too futuristic, and were encouraged to get in touch with the right people we needed to. I liked the diversity of our mentors and consultants. I enjoyed the way how we all communicated together - more like colleagues than as teacher and student - and I believe I created couple of friendly relationships which will last.
Laura, thanks for telling us about your project, and for letting Montey come to Gaudeamus. We're sure he will make lots of new friends!