Friday, January 11, 2013

Nao Robots helping with Autism

I was rather surprised to see this application of Alderbaran's Nao robot. Considering the previous research that shows people are less comfortable interacting with robots, putting robots with autistic kids that have trouble interacting at all seems counter-intuitive.

But it turns out that having a humanoid shape that can talk without any facial expression, complex interactions, or difficult to learn social cues, shallows the learning curve for autistic children. Also, robots don't judge when you screw up or make you feel bad which allows these children to become a lot more comfortable with holding a conversation and maintaining eye contact.

Once the children become accustomed to basic conversation and eye contact, their teachers can move on to more complicated human interactions without as much anxiety.

Just one more way robotics is improving all our lives.

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