Building Robota, a Mini-Humanoid Robot for the Rehabilitation of Children With AutismBy Billard, Aude; Robins, Ben; Nadel, Jacqueline; Dautenhahn, Kerstin; Assistive Technology, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 37-49
Publication Date: Srping 2007
Overview of Robota, a series of multiple-degrees-of-freedom, doll-shaped humanoid robots that have been applied as assistive technologies in behavioral studies with low-functioning children with autism. Robota’s basic hardware is described, effecting movement of the robot’s eyes, head and limbs through interfacing with a palm top computer equipped with a camera, which enables mirroring of movements of a child interacting with the robot. Robota can interact with users through built-in behaviors such as crying or being tired or happy, or by learning behaviors, provided by an artificial neural network, enabling the user and robot to engage in simple learning games. Two sets of behavior studies with Roberta are reviewed: (1) The Aurora Project at the University of Hertfordshire, England, used various studies with autistic children between 5 and 7 years determining if and how imitation and turn-taking games with robots can encourage social interaction skills. Results showed that the overall level of interaction with Robota increased over time, and that the robot could elicit imitative behavior in children with autism; children also exhibited interaction skills in which the robot served as an object mediating joint attention with an adult. (2) Experiments at the University Pierre et Marie Curie involve an instructor demonstrating an imitation game with Robota while a child observes, then leaving the child to spontaneously imitate the instructor’s behavior. Results have shown an increase in the interactivity and understanding of the game in several children. Future research directions with Robota are discussed.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J53460