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Development of a semi-autonomous robotic system to assist children with autism in developing visual perspective taking skills

Zaraki, Abolfazl, Wood, Luke, Robins, Ben and Dautenhahn, Kerstin 2018. Development of a semi-autonomous robotic system to assist children with autism in developing visual perspective taking skills. Presented at: 2018 27th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Nanjing, China, 27-31 August 2018. p. 969. 10.1109/ROMAN.2018.8525681

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Abstract

Robot-assisted therapy has been successfully used to help children with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) develop their social skills, but very often with the robot being fully controlled remotely by an adult operator. Although this method is reliable and allows the operator to conduct a therapy session in a customised child-centred manner, it increases the cognitive workload on the human operator since it requires them to divide their attention between the robot and the child to ensure that the robot is responding appropriately to the child's behaviour. In addition, a remote-controlled robot is not aware of the information regarding the interaction with children (e.g., body gesture and head pose, proximity etc) and consequently it does not have the ability to shape live HRIs. Further to this, a remote-controlled robot typically does not have the capacity to record this information and additional effort is required to analyse the interaction data. For these reasons, using a remote-controlled robot in robot-assisted therapy may be unsustainable for long-term interactions. To lighten the cognitive burden on the human operator and to provide a consistent therapeutic experience, it is essential to create some degrees of autonomy and enable the robot to perform some autonomous behaviours during interactions with children. Our previous research with the Kaspar robot either implemented a fully autonomous scenario involving pairs of children, which then lacked the often important input of the supervising adult, or, in most of our research, has used a remote control in the hand of the adult or the children to operate the robot. Alternatively, this paper provides an overview of the design and implementation of a robotic system called Sense- Think-Act which converts the remote-controlled scenarios of our humanoid robot into a semi-autonomous social agent with the capacity to play games autonomously (under human supervision) with children in the real-world school settings.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 12:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/128988

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