Robot Playmate May Help Children With AutismBy ScienceDaily,
Publication Date: July 23, 2008
Article describes 3 studies on the effect of interaction with robots on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The studies, conducted at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, observed 4 children with ASD interacting with a bubble-blowing wheeled robot. The robot had two settings: random, where the robot moved and blew bubbles according to its own internal schedule; and contingent, where bubble blowing was initiated by a child pushing a button on the robot. Researchers found that the behavior of the robot affected the social behavior of the children, and that social behavior with the robot in the contingent mode was greater than it was with the device at the random setting. The studies also detailed the development of a system developed to make the robots useful tools for helping children with ASD. The Behavior Based Behavior Intervention Architecture (B3IA) is based on an ASD therapy format called Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based Floortime (DIR/Floortime), in which a therapist shares the floor with various toys used to try to engage the child. In B3IA, toys are replaced by robots, including humanoid models capable of smiles and other expressions. The architecture also includes an overhead video view that analyzes, documents, and stores every interaction, and a control system for the therapist operator that allows for switching between scenarios for interacting with the child.
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Link to text: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080722143659.htm