Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn, Dr. Ben Robins and Dr. Ester Ferrari at the University’s School of Computer Science are partners in the European Sixth Framework funded, €3.22 million Interactive Robotic Social Mediators as Companions (IROMEC) project which is investigating the use of robotic toys to enable children with disabilities to develop social skills.
Dr. Robins, the team member responsible for the work with robots and special needs children, has carried out extensive research into the types of robots which could help children with autism and other learning difficulties to interact most effectively.
He is now taking KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics), a robot developed at the University of Hertfordshire which resembles a little boy into schools in the Hertfordshire region to carry out a series of trials to assess progress.
“During our earlier work on the AuRoRA (Autonomous mobile Robot as a Remedial tool for Autistic children), we used very plain robots which were received well, and a more elaborate doll with few movement abilities that could encourage imitation and turn-taking behaviour during playful interactions. This previous research led to us using KASPAR, a child-sized humanoid robot, with minimum facial expressions, which can move its arms and legs and allows the child to interact with it,” said Dr. Robins.
Over the next three years, IROMEC will investigate how robotic toys can become social mediators encouraging children with disabilities to discover a range of play skills, from solitary to social and cooperative play and provide opportunities for other children and carers/teachers or parents to “join” in.
“The idea is that the robot will be a mediator for human contact,” said Dr. Robins. ‘We are seeing already that through interacting with the robot, children who would not normally mix are becoming interested in getting involved with other children and humans in general and we believe that this work could pave the way for having robots in the classroom and in homes to facilitate this interaction.”
IROMEC brings together eight multidisciplinary European partners from pedagogy, psychology, ICT and robotics. The other partners are Stitchting Wetenschappelitk Onderzoek Revalidatievraagstukken, Netherlands, Universita Della Valle D’Aosta, Italy, Risoluta Tecnologia Con Espiritu SLL, Spain, Asociacon de Investigacion De La Industria del Juguete, Conexas Y Afines, Spain, Universita Degli Studi Di Siena, Italy and Robosoft SA, France.
This research is a continuation of the University of Hertfordshire’s work on developing robots as social companions led by Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn.
Helene Murphy | alfa
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences