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Baby Robots

November 26, 2007

Researchers have developed a new way for children once left behind by their peers to explore the world around them.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
A new door opens for special kids. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Babies are natural explorers. Investigating the world around them stimulates cognitive development. But for many children with special needs, exploring their environment on their own has not been possible. That is, until University of Delaware researchers Sunil Agrawal and Cole Galloway teamed up to design a robot on wheels just for young children.

SUNIL AGRAWAL (University of Delaware):
So, there’s a baby who is sitting on the robot and the baby has a little joystick and moves the robot. And there are sensors on the robot that allow safe navigation of the robot in its environment.

HIRSHON:
The researchers say that people tend to underestimate the abilities of young children. But even babies with cognitive impairments such as Down syndrome can learn to operate the robots and navigate their world, preparing their developing minds for later life. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.