Project report can be found here:
Autism Spectrum Disorder impacts an ever increasing number of children. The disorder is marked by social functioning that is characterized by impairment in the use of nonverbal behaviors, failure to develop appropriate peer relationships and lack of social and emotional exchanges. Providing early intervention through the modality of play therapy has been effective in improving behavioral and social outcomes for children with autism. Interacting with humanoid robots that provide simple emotional response and interaction has been shown to improve the communication skills of autistic children. In particular, early intervention and continuous care provide significantly better outcomes. Currently, there are no robots capable of meeting these requirements that are both low-cost and available to families of autistic children for in-home use. We are piloting the use of robotics as an improved diagnostic and early intervention tool for autistic children that is affordable, non-threatening, durable, and capable of interacting with an autistic child.
This project is focused on developing an extensible distributed system architecture a compact, intrinsically safe humanoid robot for assessment and therapy of children with pervasive developmental disorders.