The rise of the robotic infants.


Lucyjane Crimm

RealCare baby situated in its car seat while in the care of junior Lucyjane Crimm.

It’s that time of year again, when teenagers roam the halls of Powell High School with babies who cry, burp, sleep and, of course, keep a log of their caretakers’ every move. 

PHS teacher Mrs. Kandi Bennett’s Child Development class is infamous for the robot babies it distributes to its students, and this year is no different. In fact, the artificial infants already have begun to make the rounds, and it would seem their reputation precedes them.

“I thought it was gonna be pretty hard,” said PHS sophomore Natalee Cortez, one of the first students this year to take home a baby. “That I would get a horrible sleep schedule and that it would cry half the time.” 

This is a pretty common preconception. The attitude surrounding the babies always has been one of general disdain, and it’s not rare to hear horror stories. 

“I heard that the baby is over-sensitive,” said PHS junior Rita Lee, who received a perfect score on her childcare assignment. “It’s nothing that a baby wouldn’t do, but it is picky.”

For example, the baby comes with a temperature sensor, which has given quite a few people some trouble. Lee said it wasn’t uncommon for people to be docked for the cold rooms they sleep in, since they rarely think to change the temperature.

Another complaint commonly leveled at the babies is the impossibility of sleep when you’re assigned one, but this part seems to be pretty true to life.

It’s nothing that a baby wouldn’t do, but it is picky.”

— Rita Lee

“I would wake up [every] hour and a half,” said Lee, “and stay up about an hour. And then as I’m talking to my mom about how I was and how my brothers and siblings were, they were up every hour regularly, and my parents only got maybe thirty minutes each of sleep, so I felt like I had it a little easier than my parents.”

The babies don’t just cry when they wake up though; they usually want something. Lee said her baby needed food hourly, along with a regular diaper change.

It also seems difficult to manage taking care of the baby if you have a pet; Cortez emphasized the importance of paying attention to a hyper animal lest they become fed up with the baby and lash out. 

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that they would take the class if not for the robot babies, but those who’ve taken the class sometimes say the baby adds to the experience.

“Take [Child Development],” Lee said. “Yes, it is a fake baby, but if you show it just a little bit of love, you’ll be there in an instant when it needs help.”

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