In the first part of this blog post we discussed what autism was and the scale of the affect of autism on our world. I will just mention again, I am no expert, just a layman with an interest, so these are my views and opinions. They may well be wrong in places but today we will get into the meat of the discussion, Why Use Robots with Autistic Kids?
Firstly, an observation: Many children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder seem to be drawn to technology.
I have seen this discussed and commented on in a number of places on the internet but I have also observed this myself. I met a family with a 12 year old son who has been diagnosed with autism. In the afternoon we spent together, (we were at a Nao development event as his Dad is also a member of the Nao Developer Program), I noticed that he was most content when playing on his iPad. So surely we can use this natural attraction to technology to help autistic children?
Well, there are mixed opinions about this. Haifa University Professor Tamar Weiss, a leading expert on the use of technology in autism research, said, in a Times of Israel article;
“Kids are attracted to technology, and computers and devices like iPads can appear to help draw autistic kids out of their shell, but sometimes that attraction is not a good thing. Kids with autism ignore social interactions, so they often feel very comfortable with computers, because using them is a singular activity. They can sit with an iPad for a whole day and never look up even once.”
Weiss continued that the real trick was to leverage the attraction to technology into an activity to make the child more social.
Enter our robot friends, or more specifically, enter our humanoid robot friends.
Posted: 09/05/2013 21:11:41
Back in April I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at the Nao Dev Days in Paris. It was a great opportunity to meet other Nao developers and to see what everyone was doing. We also had a hackathon style event where we were challenged to create a working Nao behaviour over the course of the weekend. Well, I had a go and created a simple childrens game that helped them to learn to listen and taught some simple comprehension skills. Basically, the program allowed Nao to read the child a story and then asks them some questions about what they had just heard. The basic behaviour was completed during the event but I have subsequently been working on allowing people to add their own stories and generally tidying up the behaviour. Here is a video of the result.
Posted: 31/12/2012 16:12:11
You guessed it - Franck has already updated his Nao Sketch program and has Nao being able to draw pretty much any object. For his demo Franck shows Nao his hand and Nao draws it. Pretty impressive, the video is below. Nao is most certainly a better artist than me.
Posted: 19/08/2012 17:49:51