Robotics in the News

more-cool-robotRobots may not exactly be taking over the world, but developments in the field of robotics may be heading us toward a better world. Check out these recent stories:

Robotics Trends: Robot Speaks the Language of Kids

Two researchers with the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) at the University of Connecticut are studying whether a small robot with a big personality holds the potential to help children with autism improve both their motor and their social communication skills.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests interventions using robot-child interactions may enhance motor and social communication skills of children with low- and high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but there are very few clinical trials currently testing robot-child interactions as therapy for ASD,” says Anjana Bhat, a principal investigator with CHIP.

Bhat, an assistant professor of kinesiology in the Neag School of Education, recently received a two-year, $404,639 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to design a series of robot-child interactions that would help improve the gross motor skills and the imitative and turn-taking abilities of children with ASD. The second two-year phase of the project will include a clinical trial of the intervention with 20 children with ASD and 20 typically developing children between the ages of four and eight.

Read the complete story at http://www.roboticstrends.com/research_academics/article/robot_speaks_the_language_of_kids

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PhysOrg looks at Robots that Develop Emotions In Interactions with Humans

The first prototype robots capable of developing emotions as they interact with their human caregivers and expressing a whole range of emotions have been finalised by researchers.

Led by Dr. Lola Cañamero at the University of Hertfordshire, and in collaboration with a consortium of universities and robotic companies across Europe, these robots differ from others in the way that they form attachments, interact and express emotion through bodily expression.

Developed as part of the interdisciplinary project FEELIX GROWING (Feel, Interact, eXpress: a Global approach to development with Interdisciplinary Grounding), funded by the European Commission and coordinated by Dr. Cañamero, the robots have been developed so that they learn to interact with and respond to humans in a similar way as children learn to do it, and use the same types of expressive and behavioural cues that babies use to learn to interact socially and emotionally with others.

Visit http://www.physorg.com/news200850232.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter for the full story

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Science Daily looks at Teaching Robot Helps Children to Use Wheelchair

ScienceDaily (Aug. 12, 2010) — A robotic wheelchair is being developed that will help children learn to ‘drive’. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation describe the testing of ROLY — RObot-assisted Learning for Young drivers — in a group of children without disabilities and one child with cerebral palsy.

Laura Marchal-Crespo, worked with a team of researchers at the University of California at Irvine, USA, to carry out the study. She said, “The conventional approach for powered wheelchair driver’s training is expensive and labor-intense, typically requiring the hand-over-hand assistance of a skilled therapist. To lower the cost and improve accessibility to training, we have developed a robotic powered wheelchair system on which young children with a disability can safely develop driving skills at their own pace with minimum assistance.”

Full story here:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100812192059.htm

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And then there’s the Ellis family, taking AI to the next level, profiled in Childless Millionaire Builds Intelligent Robot

Tony Ellis and his wife, Judie, do not have any children or animals at home – but with chatterbox robot Aimec following them around, there is never a dull moment.

The couple effectively have a robotic child, just like in the 2001 futuristic fairy tale Artificial Intelligence starring Haley Joel Osment.

Their creation is so advanced it can tell jokes and keep its human parents up to date on their interests by scanning the internet.

Mr Ellis has spent years creating the four-foot plastic robot in an echo of Geppetto, the fairy tale carpenter who crafted a puppet son that came to life called Pinocchio.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1302783/Childless-millionaire-builds-intelligent-robot-sings-Karaoke-laughs-tells-jokes.html#ixzz0wXKodXrp

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