Save the Children are trialling a robot street collector in South Korea. DONA, the “Urban Donation Motivating Robot”, has been in development since August 2009 by a team led by Min Su Kim at Hongik University.
Wearing a red poncho, the short robot stands and moves near boards promoting the fundraising appeal, and makes appreciate gestures whenever money is put into its collecting box. It encourages donations through ‘pet-like interaction’, and is reportedly particularly popular with children.
DONA is the product of a multidisciplinary team working in Seoul in cooperation with MIT Media Lab. The aim was to combine industrial design, human computer interaction, engineering, and social science perspectives.
There is no sign yet of a major donor or direct debit version of DONA.