Robots could soon be able to help children with autism in ways that doctors are unable to, researchers claim. It is hoped a special machine will work as a therapist and improve the ability of young sufferers to hold conversations.
The device, designed by a team of international experts, will also be able to teach them how to take turns – a skill that many patients often lack. It works by scanning children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for their facial expressions and body movements in certain scenarios.
These images are then assessed by the robot, called Nao, to determine the most effective way of getting a child’s attention. This allows doctors to create a personalised therapy plan based on what keeps them engaged for the longest, opening up channels of communication that didn’t previously exist.