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Robot-assisted therapy for autism

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This study explores the response of autistic children to a few design features of the robots for autism therapy and provides suggestions on the robot features that have a stronger influence on the therapeutic process. First, we investigate the effect of selected robot features on the development of social communication skills in autistic children. The results indicate that the toy’s “face” and “moving limb” usually draw the children’s attention and improve children’s facial expression skills, but do not contribute to the development of other social communication skills. Secondly, we study the response of children with low‐functioning autism to robots with verbal communication functionalities. Test results show that children interacted with the verbal‐featured robot more intensively than with the experimenter. We conclude that robots with faces and moving limbs can engage autistic children in a better way. Facial expression of the robots can elicit a greater response than prompting by humans.


Jaeryoung Lee received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pusan National University, Korea in 2009 and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Nagoya University, Japan in 2012. She is currently a PhD student at Nagoya University, Japan in the Mechanical Engineering and a Research Assistant for the Global Center of Excellence program. Her research interests are in robot assisted autism therapy and human robot interaction.

This talk is part of the Rainbow Group Seminars series.

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