A haptic empathetic robot animal for children with autism

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  • Rachael Bevill Burns
  • Seifi, Hasti
  • Hyosang Lee
  • Katherine J. Kuchenbecker

Children with autism and their families could greatly benefit from increased support resources. While robots are already being introduced into autism therapy and care, we propose that these robots could better understand the child's needs and provide enriched interaction if they utilize touch. We present our plans, both completed and ongoing, for a touch-perceiving robot companion for children with autism. We established and validated touch-perception requirements for an ideal robot companion through interviews with 11 autism specialists. Currently, we are evaluating custom fabric-based tactile sensors that enable the robot to detect and identify various touch communication gestures. Finally, our robot companion will react to the child's touches through an emotion response system that will be customizable by a therapist or caretaker.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRI 2021 - Companion of the 2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Publication date2021
Article number3446352
ISBN (Electronic)9781450382908
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 8 Mar 202111 Mar 2021


Conference2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2021
LandUnited States
ByVirtual, Online
SponsorACM SIGAI, ACM SIGCHI, IEEE, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Owner/Author.

    Research areas

  • Robot-assisted therapy, Socially assistive robotics, Tactile sensors

ID: 306689750