When Jean Max Dumond worried that his two-year-old son Davensky wasn’t responding to human voices like other kids, he built him a friend: a robot made of papier mâché and recycled components. The Observers’ Derek Thomson went to meet them as part of a special “Observers Direct” in Port-au-Prince.

After dropping out of law school for financial reasons, Jean Max taught himself programming and electronics, largely from free classes on the internet. To encourage his son to communicate, he built a talking robot using parts he recycled from other devices – for a total cost of $52.

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