Washington: Scientists have developed a social robot that may help teach math to school children and can be customised with handcrafted materials, such as wood and wool. The team at Cornell University in the US envisioned robots built from warmer, homier materials that could be customised by their owners, so each would be unique.

“We wanted to empower people to build their own robot, but without sacrificing how expressive it is,” said Guy Hoffman, assistant professor at Cornell University. Blossom’s mechanical design is centred on a floating “head” platform using strings and cables for movement, making its gestures more flexible and organic than those of a robot composed of rigid parts.