University researchers use humanoid robot to connect with children on the autism spectrum with video

IMG_4615Hays, KS – A robot designed to aid children in the fields of engineering and science, will also be used as a tool to help youngsters with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Sheldon the robot is currently at Fort Hays University were researchers will be conducting studies with children from local schools who have ASD. The youngsters will not only help those undertaking the research to gather information, they will also assist in the programming of it as well.

Because the robot is designed to be a “humanoid”, it was initially created and programmed to interact and connect effectively with humans. For children with autism, that particular characteristic enables them to engage with the robot, in a way that they sometimes cannot do with their peers.

Those conducting the research at the university’s Education and Technology department, assert that Sheldon’s humanistic traits such as its ability to react to touch and perform repetitive yet complex actions makes it an ideal tool to help engage children. Dr. Paul Adams, the Dean of College and Education Technology says of Sheldon:

“It never get(s) upset and never get(s) tired, so it seems to just engage those students in particular, the way they interact with the world in a fashion better than a human can.”

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