February 4, 2015

Glus - screenshot taken from the YouTube video
Glus – screenshot taken from the YouTube video

We recently read an article on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus website,  about how staff at ATP Assistive Technology Partners helped a mother to design a toy for her six-year-old son, Jadyn, who has a rare developmental birth defect.

ATP’s mission statement is:

Our mission is to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their highest potential through the use of assistive technology, by providing exemplary clinical services, consultation, education, research and innovative technology development.’

Jadyn’s mother, Arenas told that when her son was 4 months old, he could not support his head, when he was 8 months old, an MRI gave a diagnosis of schizencephaly, a rare developmental birth defect characterized by abnormal clefts in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

When Jadyn turned five, she took him to ATP in order to get a power wheelchair, and while there, they were asked if they would  help in the development of a new robot toy.

Arenas told:

“With most toys, you have to hit a button, flip a switch, squeeze, push or pull,

“Since Jadyn can’t do any of those things, there was no toy we could find that he could play with by himself.”

“Glus” is a  “socially assistive robotics”—robotic device that provides a ‘social connection for the user,’ and  is being developed through the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

The article states:

‘The toy is a prototype and must be controlled by a human being (dubbed the “Wizard of Oz” at ATP). ATP engineers are already working on a next-generation of Glus, an autonomous robot toy that operates independently using sensors that pick up a child’s movement patterns and auditory cues.’

The video below shows Glus in action.

Source:  University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus website.A toy for Jadyn Pioneering work in socially assistive robotics



About the author 

Jo Worgan

Jo Worgan is a published author, writer and blogger. She has a degree in English Literature. She writes about life with her youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum. Jo tweets (@mummyworgan) and is also a freelance columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. ‘My Life with Tom, Living With Autism‘ is her second book and a culmination of her blog posts, and available on Kindle now, along with her first book, Life on the Spectrum. The Preschool years.

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