A University of Minnesota Duluth computer science professor, Arshia Khan, and her students are programming humanoid robots to recognize people and communicate with them on subjects that match their interests.

As far as Khan's aware, no one else has programmed Pepper, the world's first social humanoid robot designed by Japan-based SoftBank Robots, to act as what she calls "COVID gossip bots." It's all in the name of helping the elderly, especially during the pandemic when many are experiencing even higher levels of isolation.

The next-level science project inspired the animated short video below.

Read the story that inspired this Quirky Tales animation.

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About Quirky Tales

A digital animation collaboration between Forum Communications Co. and award-winning motion design artist Richard Borge.

Borge grew up in Fargo, N.D., attended college in Moorhead, Minn., and Tucson, Ariz., and now lives and works in New York City, where he works on editorial and corporate advertising projects, covering both illustration and motion design components.

The animations are published on more than 20 Forum Communications' websites. Watch all of the Quirky Tales animations inspired by local journalism.