Kaspar the Friendly Robot Helps Autistic KidsBy Katz, Leslie; CNET News,
Publication Date: August 25, 2010
Article features a child size humanoid robot designed to teach children with autism social skills. The robot’s name, Kaspar, is the acronym for Kinesics and Synchronization in Personal Assistant Robots. Developed at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K., Kaspar has a minimally expressive face so as not to overwhelm its play partners with social cues. The robot was built inexpensively, using a child shaped mannequin, off the shelf parts, and silicone rubber skin with embedded tactile sensors that detect different kinds of touch. Video cameras behind its eyes are used to capture movement. Kaspar’s minimal movements simulate only the most salient gestures involved in human communication. Its face takes cues from the wooden masks used in Japanese Noh theater, masks which are designed to convey a variety of facial expressions depending on the angle at which they are viewed. Children are encouraged to touch Kaspar and interact with it as it executes various actions, repeating them when getting vocal encouragement. The robot is part of the European Aurora Project aimed at investigating the use of robotic systems as therapeutic and educational tools for autistic children. The online article includes a 2 minute video showing a child’s interaction with Kaspar and another, simpler, robot used for teaching turn taking.
Assistive Products Discussed: KASPAR HUMANOID ROBOT
Published by: CNET Networks (Website:http://news.com.)
Link to text: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20014712-1.html