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Cute Korean robot a charity hit

May 4, 2011 - 18:43 By Kirsty Taylor
Meet DONA ― the Korean robot that could change the face of charity collecting. The cute, red-caped robot interacts with passers-by, encouraging them to put money in its collecting can.

DONA interacts with people when its sensors tell it that someone is about to give some cash. It reacts by bowing, blinking, waving and wiggling its arms in thanks.

Trials in New York’s Union Square and Seoul Museum of Art proved that DONA could raise about $30 an hour by pricking the interest of jaded passers-by. The money raised so far has been donated to Save the Children’s education projects in the Ivory Coast.
DONA (Kim Min-su)

The robot was first devised in a 72-hour workshop in Seoul, where Korean researchers collaborated with members of the MIT Media Lab and Carnegie Mellon University to create the “urban donation motivating robot.”

Kim Min-su, a design student at Hongik University, then developed the idea to create DONA.

“The trials were really successful because people really liked the experience of giving money to the robot,” he said. “There may well be some substantial meaning as to why DONA works ― but the most obvious thing is that it’s fun!

“I am looking forward to carrying out more trials with the robot and researching new robotic applications for the contribution to society in the future.

“I am currently searching for financial supporters who are interested in my projects.”

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