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Friends from the Future: Artificial Intelligence Enhances the Student Experience at Curry College

Kiwibot and Alex go for a ride around the academic quad
November 29, 2022


Student Engagement

In recent years alone, technological advance has swept the globe. Forms of artificial intelligence have increased the efficiency of products, processes, and user experiences worldwide, and Curry College is here for the change.

Curry currently utilizes two forms of next-level technology, one as a texting chatbot focused on student success, and the other as a robotic delivery network designed for hygiene, safety, and convenience.

Alex, an artificial intelligence texting chatbot, was first introduced to the Curry community in January 2022. Named after one of Curry’s earliest leaders, Alexander Graham Bell, Alex answers students’ questions and helps address any challenges they may face as college students, on-demand, 24/7. Through real-time text conversations with our student body, Alex serves as a support resource for students, connecting them with services and information regarding academics, financial matters, student life, mental health, and more.

“I love how Alex asks me how I’m feeling. It’s so helpful when it checks up on our mental health,” said Kelsey Morales ’23. “The college reminders are also so helpful, but I really love when Alex just checks in for a conversation or a game. It’s super fun and makes you feel connected to Curry.”

Its counterpart, Kiwibot, is a semi-autonomous robotic food delivery network that was introduced to campus this past summer. Kiwibot uses the most advanced sensors, cameras, and technology to learn the geographic footprint of Curry, and delivers late-night bites and Starbucks to students through a new all called “Everyday.” The Kiwibots operate at a low and safe speed of 1.86 miles per hour and come equipped with six obstacle detectors and four cameras for image transmission and real-time decision-making.

“The process to order is simple and convenient,” said Alicha Hut ’23. “They’re definitely helpful given that Curry’s campus is full of hills, and during those late nights it’s not a desired walk, especially as it gets colder.”

The Kiwibots fulfill about 75 orders every night, trekking the Curry campus to deliver food and drink. And while the response has been positive, the Sodexo/Kiwibot team is always looking for ways to enhance the experience. Director of Dining Services Chris Alger says they’re exploring options such as an ice cream shop, which would allow the Kiwibots to deliver pints of Ben & Jerry’s.

“The Kiwibot response from the student body has been terrific,” he said. “At Sodexo, we are constantly striving to improve the student experience and hope that Kiwibot delivers on that promise.”