Humanoid robot helps children with autism learn communication skills

Humanoid robot helps children with autism learn communication skills The Robot with Ethan

A child-sized humanoid robot that can talk, comb its hair and even answer questions from children with autism around the UK.

 

Kaspar is supporting children with autism in schools, homes and hospitals to develop their social interaction skills...

 

The Dohertys are one of six families who were signed up for a remarkable BBC2 two-part series called 'Six Robots And Us' aired this month.

 

They tested out the Robot with their son Ethan, and were very pleased with how much it helped their Autistic son, that now the robot is a permanent feature.

 

‘Unlike humans, Kaspar is patient,’ says Michelle. ‘And the information he gives is quite pared down, which makes it easy for Ethan to follow.

 

This autonomous response, together with the pre-programed responses that can be triggered remotely by teachers, therapists, or other children, enable Kaspar to encourage certain tactile behaviours and discourage inappropriate ones.

 

It has skin sensors on various parts of its body - including on its cheeks, torso, arms, palms and feet - which allow it to respond to touch.

 

Kaspar can talk, comb its hair, hold a toothbrush, play the drums, name parts of its body, and sing nursery rhymes (Image: University of Hertfordshire)Kaspar can talk, comb its hair, hold a toothbrush, play the drums, name parts of its body, and sing nursery rhymes (Image: University of Hertfordshire)

 

Researchers at Hertfordshire University aim to reengineer Kaspar into an advanced and affordable robot available to any child that needs it.

 

An estimated 120,000 school-aged children in England are on the autism spectrum.

 

 

Research with Kaspar has shown that robots can provide a safe and predictable learning tool to encourage social interaction and communication in children with autism.

 

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