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Social Robots & Autism

August 27, 2018

Robots help children with autism develop social skills at home

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Social robots helping kids. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Many children with autism are more social when they’re interacting with robots than with other people. But laboratory studies lack the complexity of the real-world. Now, researchers report that 30 minutes of daily interaction with an autonomous robot in their own home helped kids stay motivated and engaged in games promoting social skills and eye contact. Yale computer scientist Brian Scasselati says the robots adjusted the level of challenge in response to children’s progress.

BRIAN SCASSELATTI (Yale):

We try to keep things just at the right level, neither too easy nor too hard, and keep it exciting and motivating so we can actually see some learning improvement.

HIRSHON:

Scasselatti’s team writes in Science Robotics that the children also showed gains in their social engagement with adults during the times when the robots were not present. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard