Using a robot to teach human social skills
July 9, 2007
By Emmet Cole
Children with autism are often described as robotic: They are emotionless. They engage in obsessive, repetitive behavior and have trouble communicating and socializing.
Now, a humanoid robot designed to teach autistic children social skills has begun testing in British schools.
Known as KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics), the $4.33 million bot smiles, simulates surprise and sadness, gesticulates and, the researchers hope, will encourage social interaction amongst autistic children.
Relying on a robot to teach human social skills might seem counterintuitive, but autism presents a special case, said Dr. Cathy Pratt, director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana University.
Read the entire story at: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/07/autistic_robot
Learn more about autism here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/3715.html
Learn more about the Indiana Resource Center for Autism here: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/fmain1.html