Robot For Autism: Helps Autistic Kids

By Posted 9 Mar 2011, 11:52

It wasn’t that long ago that 4-year old Eden Sawczenko – who has autism – would back away when another little girl tried holding her hand, or go stiff if they tried hugging her. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case now, thanks to a new robot aimed at helping autistic children.

The robot – which according to Maria Cheng at news.yahoo.com has been named “Kaspar” – is said to help autistic kids by teaching them about physical contact and emotions. Eden’s mother Claire Sawczenko claims that her daughter is a lot more affectionate since she started playing with Kaspar.

The human-looking, child-sized robot, which was built by scientists at the University of Hertfordshire, is programmed to do a number of things such as frown, laugh, smile, blink and even wave his arms. The robot features shaggy black hair, a baseball cap and stripy red socks.

Although the robot is currently in the experimental stage, the researchers hope that he can be mass-produced in the future for a few hundred dollars. Canada, Japan and the United States are said to have similar projects, but none that are as advanced as the British one.

Scientists first started using a version of the Kaspar autism robot back in 2005, but the latest version is covered in silicone patches that feel like skin. This is to help the children become more comfortable with physical contact. Almost 300 autistic kids in Britain have played with the robot so far.

You can read the full article via the news.yahoo.com article. Do you think the Kaspar robot is a great idea for autistic children?

  • Jeanne

    Great idea – I think that whatever is the most comfortable for the the child to learn about emotions, expressions, etc – thats how we should teach them. If that means using a robot then – great!