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IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2013 Mar;21(2):289-99. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2012.2230188. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

A step towards developing adaptive robot-mediated intervention architecture (ARIA) for children with autism.

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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37212, USA.


Emerging technology, especially robotic technology, has been shown to be appealing to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Such interest may be leveraged to provide repeatable, accurate and individualized intervention services to young children with ASD based on quantitative metrics. However, existing robot-mediated systems tend to have limited adaptive capability that may impact individualization. Our current work seeks to bridge this gap by developing an adaptive and individualized robot-mediated technology for children with ASD. The system is composed of a humanoid robot with its vision augmented by a network of cameras for real-time head tracking using a distributed architecture. Based on the cues from the child's head movement, the robot intelligently adapts itself in an individualized manner to generate prompts and reinforcements with potential to promote skills in the ASD core deficit area of early social orienting. The system was validated for feasibility, accuracy, and performance. Results from a pilot usability study involving six children with ASD and a control group of six typically developing (TD) children are presented.

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