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Humanoid robots help autistic children. Outline. Motivation of the creators Autistic disorders A survey of the research Why robots might help The field of research Conclusions. Motivation. Research in Human-Robot Interaction Looking for a killer application

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outline
Outline
  • Motivation of the creators
  • Autistic disorders
  • A survey of the research
    • Why robots might help
  • The field of research
  • Conclusions
motivation
Motivation
  • Research in Human-Robot Interaction
  • Looking for a killer application
    • advertisement, receptionists, multi-media kiosks,
    • theatre and installations,
    • help elderly and disabled adults,
    • normal child supervision
    • toys
  • Better – How can we use robots to help people?
autistic disorders
Autistic Disorders
  • 1 of 300 children diagnosed with autism with rates rising
  • To compare with other ilnesses:
    • 1 of 800 children diagnosed with Down syndrome
    • 1 of 450 children diagnosed with juvenile diabetes
    • 1 of 333 children will develop cancer by age 20
  • Diagnosis currently made through behavioral observation
    • no blood test or genetic screening is available
    • there is evidence of a genetic link, so may be tests will arrive
autistic disorders what are their characteristics
Autistic Disorders: What are their Characteristics ?
  • Inability to relate to other people
  • Little use of eye contact with other people
  • Difficulty understanding gestures and facial expressions
  • Difficulties with verbal & non-verbal communication
  • Difficulty understanding other’s intentions, feelings, and mental states
why use robots for children with autism
Why Use Robots for children with autism?
  • Most children, including children with autism, are attracted to robots.
  • This natural affinity is exploited, and the robot is used as an interactive toy.
  • Robots may provide a less threatening environment than interacting with people.
    • Robots can provide a repetitive and more predictable environment.
    • This “safe” environment can gently push a child with autism towards human interaction.

Here tell about my personal experiences with autistic kids in our lab and the “president of Intel story”

there is a connection of autism to imitation
There is a connection of autism to imitation
  • One theory: Autism may be caused by early impairments in imitation and shared attention(Rogers & Pennington, 1991) (Baron-Cohen, 1995)
  • Imitation is a format of communication, a means to express interest and engage others in interaction(Nadel, 1999)
  • Idea: Use a doll-like robot to engage children with autism and teach basic imitative interaction skills
    • From: K. Dautenhahn, and A. Billard, Games Children with Autism Can Play With Robota, a Humanoid Robotic Doll, Proc. 1st Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology, 2002
development of robota robots for autistic children

1. Research from Switzerland, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Development of “Robota” robots for autistic children
  • A six-year old autistic boy playing with Robota.
  • He seemed curious about Robota's head movements and so he touches the doll.
    • From: K. Dautenhahn, and A. Billard, Games Children with Autism Can Play With Robota, a Humanoid Robotic Doll, Proc. 1st Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology, 2002
imitation using robota
Imitation Using Robota
  • “Robota … allows the child to understand that the doll’s movement originates from his own movement (sense of agency)
  • It helps to understand that the doll’s movement is limited to a restricted category of movement (enhances intentional action)”
    • From: J. Nadel, “Early Imitation and a Sense of Agency,” Proc. 4th Intl. Workshop on Epigenetic Robots, 2004
slide10

An autistic child playing “chasing” games with the mobile robot

From: K. Dautenhahn, and A. Billard, Games Children with Autism Can Play With Robota, a Humanoid Robotic Doll, Proc. 1st Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology, 2002

joint attention using robota
Joint Attention Using Robota

Robota is controlled via teleoperation by the investigator.

From: B. Robins, P. Dickerson, and K. Dautenhahn, “Robots as

Embodied Beings – Interactionally Sensitive Body Movements

In Interactions Among Autistic Children and a Robot,”

Proc. RO-MAN 2005

slide12

Investigator remotely encourages interaction and immitation by children

Two autistic children:

Note Andy’s gaze at

Jack.

The investigator encourages the children to show each other how

they can interact with the robot.

The robot will not move unless the children show the same movement,

i.e., they must work together.

slide14

Adam shows no interest in his classmates

and usually tries to avoid the rest of the

children. But Adam is interested in Robota.

Adam takes Rob’s hand to show him how to interact with Robota.

the new prototype of robota
The new prototype of Robota
  • The current prototype of the doll-shaped humanoid robot Robota is presented here.
  • The use of the robot Robota as part of studies with disabled children sets a number of constraints on its design.
  • In particular, it requires that the robot bears a human likeness both in its body features and in the kinematics of its motions.
  • The current design consists in a 23 degrees of freedom upper body, including a 3 DOFs spine, two 7 DOFs arm, a 3 DOFs pair of eyes and a 3 DOFs neck.
the prototype of arm
The prototype of arm
  • The current prototype of arm is a 6 DOFs arm with a 1 DOF gripper. It is 26 centimeter long for 700gr.
  • The motors were dimensioned so as to carry an external load of up to 200 gr.
  • The different DOFs were designed to be reversible, in order to provide an interface for teaching the robot by demonstration. The first three degrees of freedom are placed in the shoulder. The three rotation axes cross at the same point.
  • This implies that the elbow moves on a sphere. We have one DOF in the elbow and two DOFs in the wrist.
  • The gripper is composed of 3 fingers actuated by one single DOF. To have an absolute measure of the position of each joint, we have placed potentiometers on each axis.
  • We can, thus, measure the absolute position of the arm when the arm is switched on, and, hence, initialize the motor encoders without having to send the motors to the reset position.
  • This ensures minimal risks when the robot interacts with children, by preventing any involuntary motion if the robot should reset itself.
the prototype of eyes
The prototype of eyes
  • A prototype of a 3 DOFs pair of eyes has been developped.
  • One DOF drives the horizontal rotation of the two eyes and the two other DOFs drive the vertical rotation of each eye.
  • Thus, the robot can wink but not squint!
  • In each eye, we have placed one ''mobile phone'' CMOS camera.
  • The principal constraint in this project is the aesthetic of the robot.
  • We use then real doll eyes that we modify to insert the cameras, by drilling a tiny hole through the pupil, making sure that the iris remains intact.
  • The volume of the eyes is, however, too small to contain the electronic board (that proceeds to the digital conversion of the image).
  • Thus, the sensor must be connected to the board through a flex cable in such a way that the cable is not impeding the movement of the eyes.
the prototype of neck
The prototype of neck
  • For the prototype of Robota's neck, we have 3 DOFs (lace, pitch and roll).
  • These are placed in series, starting with lace, and, then pitch and roll.
  • The system has been designed to support a load of 400gr, so that it could still drive the head of the robot in any position.
  • Pitch and Roll are controlled by transmission through a set of cables and pulleys, while Lace is controlled by a direct drive from the motor.
  • Using direct drive and cable transmission minimizes the chance of encountering backlash problems.
the prototype of spine
The prototype of spine
  • The current prototype of spine drives two DOFs for front-back and left-right bending respectively.
  • The third DOF of the torso, supported by the spine, drives the horizontal rotation of the shoulders.
  • The spine is about 200mm high for a diameter of 90mm.
  • It weights about 1Kg and supports a load of 2Kg located at 80mm on the spine.
  • This corresponds to the estimated mass of the current prototypes and position of the mass center of the two arms and the head. To obtain a smooth curvature along the spine, we have used a low pressure hydraulic system.
  • Four pistons are placed at each level of the spine (there are four levels), two for each DOF.
  • To move the spine, we have two motors placed in its base.
  • Using a reduction gear, each motor transmits the movement to an endless screw that moves two pistons working as a pump.
interacting with keepon

2. Research from Japan

Interacting with Keepon

Keepon is controlled via teleoperation.

From: H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, and Y. Yasuda, “Interactive

Robots for Communication-Care: A Case Study in Autism

Therapy,” Proc. RO-MAN 2005

slide29

Keepon is a robot that sees you and tracks you

Views from Keepon’s camera eyes

slide30

Attentive action

Emotive action

  • Keepon's kinematic mechanism.
  • Two gimbals are connected by four wires; the lower gimbal is driven by two motors.
  • Another motor rotates the whole inner-structure;
  • Yet another drives the skull downward for bobbing.
enabling interaction
Enabling Interaction

Eye-contact: Referring to each other's mental states

Joint attention: Sharing the perceptual information

Enables people to exchange intention and emotion toward a target.

slide32

Dyadic and triadic interactions

Emergence of dyadic interaction. Spontaneous actions to Keepon (left) and actions copied from others (right).

Emergence of triadic interaction. The child discovers excitement in Keepon (left) and then looks at the adult to share the excitement (right).

child

scassellati using robots for autism diagnosis

3. Yale University

Scassellati : Using Robots for Autism Diagnosis

ESRA

Playtest

From: B. Scassellati, “Quantitative Metrics of Social Response

for Autism Diagnosis,” Proc. RO-MAN 2005

autism diagnosis methods
Autism Diagnosis Methods
  • 1. Reaction to the ESRA robot with and without the face configuration

Can generate facial expressions

using 5 servo motors

Two motors added for horizontal eye movement

autism diagnosis methods35

At the press of a button,

an audio clip is played.

The interaction of a child with

the robot is logged

in non-volatile memory.

Autism Diagnosis Methods
  • 2. Measure listening preferences to speech sounds
autism diagnosis methods36
Autism Diagnosis Methods

Features F24 vs. F1

Mean pitch * energy vs. mean pitch

  • Vocal prosody, i.e., how something is said

Separation of two features used in a Bayesian classifierdistinguisheslow energy categories (neutral and soothing) from high energy categories (approval, attention, and prohibition).

autism diagnosis methods37
Autism Diagnosis Methods
  • 3. Position tracking relative to another person
autism diagnosis methods38
Autism Diagnosis Methods
  • 4. Gaze direction and focus of attention

Red – adolescents with autism

Blue – typical adolescents

slide39

Linear discriminant analysis of autistic (au) and typical (nc) gaze patterns.

  • Linear filters F(x) are trained to reproduce the gaze pattern G(x) of each individual x
    • and then applied to predict the gaze patterns of any other individual.
  • For example, F(au)*G(self) indicates a filter trained on an individual with autism and tested on that same individual while F(nc)*G(au) indicates a filter trained on a control individual and tested on an individual with autism.
  • The mean performance of this data (y-axis) is a function of the response percentile of individual pairings.
  • Significant differences (all p<0.01 for a two-tailed t-test) are seen between the following classes: (1) F(nc)*G(self), (2) F(au)*G(self), (3) F(nc)* G(other nc), and (4) the three other conditions.
university of sherbrooke project for students with double meaning

4. University of Sherbrooke

University of Sherbrooke Project for students with double meaning
  • Project for engineering students:
    • Design a robotic toy for an autistic child
  • Educational value
    • Real world problem
    • Students work together in a team
    • Students must first investigate autistic disorders
university of sherbrooke student projects for autistic children
University of Sherbrooke student projects for autistic children

Pushing Jumbo around the play area.

Rolling game with Roball.

From: Michaud, F., Théberge-Turmel, C. (2002), "Mobile robotic toys and autism", Socially Intelligent Agents - Creating Relationships with Computers and Robots, Kluwer, pp. 125-132.

university of sherbrooke

Autistic kids do some actual robot assembly

University of Sherbrooke

Girl showing signs of interest toward Bobus.

Assembling the arms and tail of C-Pac.

From: Michaud, F., Théberge-Turmel, C. (2002), "Mobile robotic toys and autism", Socially Intelligent Agents - Creating Relationships with Computers and Robots, Kluwer, pp. 125-132.

the field of researchers
The Field of Researchers
  • Francois Michaud
    • University of Sherbrooke, Canada
  • Kerstin Dautenhahn & Ben Robbins
    • University of Hertfordshire, UK
  • Aude Billard
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Jacqueline Nadel
    • French National Centre of Scientific Research
the field of researchers46
The Field of Researchers
  • Brian Scassellati and Bob Schultz
    • Yale University
  • Javier Movellan
    • University of California – San Diego
  • Hideki Kozima
    • National Institute of ICT, Japan
  • Michio Okada
    • ATR, Kyoto, Japan
conclusions
Conclusions
  • The use of robots for autism therapy and diagnosis is just beginning.
  • There is anecdotal evidence that robot therapy can help children with autism
  • Can we do something with Robot Theatre?
dolls monsters or may be something new
Dolls, monsters, or may be something new?

I believe that Halloween robot technology can be reused to build robot theatre with robots of natural size.

Inexpensive, after Halloween.

sources of slides and ideas

Sources of slides and ideas

Brian Scassellati, Francois Michaud, Ben Robins, and Hideki Kozima Marjorie Skubic