Feeds

Robots used to treat autistic kids

Hmmm

Build a business case: developing custom apps

US boffins say they have developed a method for treating children with autism - the condition characterised by repetitive behaviour, difficulties understanding human language and/or lack of imagination - by having them spend time with robots.

Vanderbilt U graphic of system for automated care of autistic children

Automated autism.

"It has been shown that the children are attracted to robots, raising the promise that appropriately designed robots could play an important role in their treatment,” says Nilanjan Sarkar, mech engineering prof at Vanderbilt Uni. "[But] efforts so far have been quite limited because they haven’t had a way to monitor the emotional state of the children, which would allow the robot to respond automatically to their reactions.”

Sarkar reckons he's cracked this, after enlisting help from paediatrics prof and autism expert Wendy Stone.

The two profs attached a "battery of physiological sensors" to a group of autistic kids, and they believe their expert-system software can use these to gauge the children's emotional state. The kit is "about as good at identifying a child's emotional state as an experienced therapist", according to Sarkar and Stone.

Equipped to know how a child under treatment is feeling, a robotic system can then play games or otherwise interact with the subject - or gradually help them overcome difficulties such as a dislike of eye contact, say the profs. Meanwhile, according to the Vanderbilt graphic, therapists and parents can sit down and watch what's going on using CCTV.

Sarkar and Stone think that robots and AI techniques could take on at least part of the burden of care for autism sufferers, said to cost $3.2m over a lifetime in the States.

There's more from Vanderbilt Uni here (Flash). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.