Humanoid Robot to Assist School-going Children with Autism in Developing Communication Skills

165

The Queensmill School has a new student and children in the school are getting used to their new classmate, who occasionally drops in.

Welcome Zeno, a robot capable of making facial expressions along with encouraging children to imitate him.

autism communication
Zeno is a robot that is helping Autistic children develop communication skills

Although it isn’t easy for autistic children, many of them are comfortable with facial expressions. This can be helpful in many ways, since autistic children can sometimes have trouble with communicating their thoughts.

Zeno is designed in such a way as to help these children learn how to make facial expressions that can be used to communicate with other people.

“Robots in therapeutic settings might be particularly beneficial for autistic children because they can potentially make them more comfortable in these settings,” says Prof. Elizabeth Pellicano from the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at University College London. “And if we get children who are more comfortable and less anxious, they might be more ready to learn.”

Freddie Adu, Headmaster of Queensmill, notes the interest the robot generates among young school kids, adding “No two days are the same with autism.”

communication for autistic children

Many of these children have difficulty with communication and see everyone the same, all the time. However, with the help of a robot, this has improved, though the children gradually understand that they are not speaking or interacting with a human, even though it assists them with normal communication.

In today’s modern world, we are used to seeing automation and robots assist us in our day-to-day lives. However, unlike other robots, Zeno is designed for a different purpose. It is designed to help researchers and scientists alike to learn more about individuals and devise ways to assist them.

Artificial intelligence is being loaded into Zeno at Imperial College in London in order to turn it into autistic children’s friendly counterpart.

Prof. Maja Pantic, who dedicates a lot of time to understanding the relationship between autism and machines, says “The main reason we want to use robots is that autistic kids are keen and happy to work with robots. They understand robots very well because robots are programmed and are always consistent; they will show the same things each time.”

robotic autism communication

Prof. Pantic helps us understand the difficulties autistic children face in their day-to-day lives and says that autistic children have difficulty understanding different facial expressions.

“They see the expression as a set of separate parts of the face and each one moves separately. For them, even if there is a slight difference in one eyebrow, they would see it as a completely different expression. This is very confusing.”

Zeno, with the help of its artificial intelligence, will learn from the behaviour of children as well as teach them the different facial expressions.

Prof. Pantic has seen positive results in a nonverbal child during the initial phase of the experiment that was carried out in Serbia, and gives us an idea of the background of the child. “He went home after one session with Zeno and said to his mother, ‘and tomorrow in school, the robot.’”

“That was incredible, because the kid had not spoken for a year or more and exactly on that day he was so excited about the robot and playing with the robot that he actually spoke,” says Prof. Pantic.

“This kind of positive effect is great for the kids and those around them, as our faces present a big enigma for them. The children are closed and in their own world. Bringing them out is a great achievement.”

Zeno could become a household name in a few years if the research team has anything to say about it. They have started to collect the initial data and plan to provide clinical research to create a detailed awareness about the usefulness of the robot.

With Zeno, it is possible to create a remarkable gateway to a plethora of thoughts and emotions that children on the spectrum have been unable to express in the past.

Summary
Robot Facilitates Autism Communication
Article Name
Robot Facilitates Autism Communication
Description
Robot Assisting Schoolchildren with Autism in Communication Skills
Author
Publisher Name
AutisMag
Comments
Loading...
SUBSCRIBE TO AUTISMAG!
Never miss a story on Autism or ADHD.
  We will not share your details with any 3rd party.
FREE
Issue of AUTISMAG
The #1 Autism Parenting Magazine
Someone you know has Autism?
2017 (C) All rights reserved.
Thankfully, you have AutisMag!
GET
ISSUE
The #1 Autism Parenting Magazine trusted by more than 22,000 Parents and Educators across 133 countries! Get your FREE Issue Now!
2016 (C) All rights reserved.
FREE
Thanks! Are you Ready?
Thanks for your interest! Click the button below to download our latest Issue # 33 of AUTISMAG. I bet you will Love this one :-)
GET YOUR OWN BUZZIES
WE HELPED JOSH
Get the EXACT Tools & Strategies that has helped THOUSANDS of kids like Josh overcome challenges with Autism Spectrum.
ACCESS FREE, NO STRINGS ATTACHED!
Josh is a 7 year old with Non Verbal Autism. He now goes to a regular school in Brooklyn and has 2 good friends .
Thanks! Are you Ready?
Hi,
I am Ash Bernard, an Autism Coach and the Founder of AutisMag. I have just sent you an email with the course content along with a download link to your first resource.
Make sure you check your Spam folder as well.
Till then, Cheers to your success :-)
Ash
Download this 35 Page Detailed PDF Guide that contains:
Logo
GET THIS FREE GUIDE
  • Things to keep in mind while Teaching
  • 11 HIGHLY Effective Teaching Strategies
  • Free Teaching Resources
  • 121 PECS Cards