Feeds

Robots used to treat autistic kids

Hmmm

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.