Aisoy co-develops a new treatment for improving Quality of Life of children with Autism using the emotional robot Aisoy1

Aisoy co-develops a new treatment for improving Quality of Life of children with Autism using the emotional robot Aisoy1

July 08, 2016

Aisoy is committed to improve Quality of Life of people using Emotional Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Because of that, we are very happy to announce that we have started an amazing project for a very special group of people, whom we appreciate very much: children with autism and their families. We wish that the results of the project will be useful for improving Quality of Life of many children around the world. That is a powerful motivation.

Here, you have the press release. We will keep you updated with our progress.


Press Release

Psychologists and Engineers at the University Miguel Hernández (UMH) develop a new treatment for children with autism assisted by robots.

Elche, July 5, 2016

Psychologists at the University Clinic an Aisoy Robotics have started together for developing a new software for children with autism which includes as complement the use of social robotics as help in the therapy. That multidisciplinary team will combine their knowledge in psychopathology, clinic psychology and robotic engineering in order to create a set of interactive games between the kid, his therapist and the robot. Those games will improve kid’s cognitive, emotional and social skills.

Who can be beneficiary of that new therapy?

The use of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics have shown that therapies where they are applied are more beneficial for children with different development problems. Team’s plan is to explore different ways of use Aisoy1, the emotional robot, to find how those could reinforce the treatment made by University Clinic. The first phase is to make a trial in children with different levels of Autism Spectre Disorder (ASD), range from Asperger to others more severe. In the future, the team will apply that new kind of assistance, robot as co-therapist, in the treatment of other problems as impulsiveness, disorder attention deficit and hyperactivity.

What is autism?

Autism is a neuro developmental disorder which affects to one of each 120 kids. Children diagnosed with that disorder show difficulties in social relationship, knowing the intention of the other people and anticipating to them, knowing what other people think about their behaviour, understanding the consequences of their own acts and, identifying and managing the emotions. Due to high prevalence and limitations of current conventional treatments is necessary to study innovative ways which help to improve the difficulties observed in their development.

What evidence exist about using robots in therapy?

Studies in other countries are showing the benefits of using robots in the therapy for children with autism for several reasons. The first one is that children with autism usually are more receptive to technological interaction rather than to other people. Due to that, the social reinforcement which is provided by the robot when the child make an activity successfully is an extra factor for learning process. The second one is that robots are a novel magic stimuli which encourage a more powerful interaction through visual contact, cognitive games and role player games. The third one is that robots can have limited behaviours managed by the child. In the case of Autism, children show difficulties for understanding the multiple unpredictable and ambiguity situations or complex relations with other people which are daily present in the real world. The new treatment has a variety of training communication, cognitive and emotional skills. During each session, the robot acts as the therapist’s assistance, shows emotions which should be identified by the kid, proposes games for training social skills and helps to encourage emotional links.

Which are the limits of current Autism Treatments and what can provide a therapy based on a robot? Why robots are a key element in the Therapy for Autism?

Frequently, Autism Spectre Disorder treatment should cover many key areas as cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural. Usually, it takes much time and the child could demotivate. Using robots could add an extra motivate factor. Children usually has more interest for technological devices rather than other people. Also, the robot coordinated with the therapist could provide personalized rewards during the session.

What innovation shows this approach?

Aisoy1 is an emotional robot which creates affective links with children. Use verbal and no verbal communication capabilities as well as natural interaction in the same way people do. Some of those capabilities are to show 5 main emotions (happy, sad, fear, ira and disgust) and other secondary 9, to feel when you caress or annoying it, to know if it is accompanied and speak several languages. Those capabilities empower to work cognitive skills.

Head movements and facial expressivity together provide to children relevant and understandable information about its emotional states. In addition to that, Aisoy1 could enrich it with lights, sounds and natural speaking. The link created is very powerful.

How does therapy with Aisoy1 work?

Therapy includes 12 sessions, one per week. Each session could have between 2 and 4 activities per module. Communication, Cognitive and Social modules will be available. The Robot proposes each activity as a game and the kid should do specific tasks to complete the activity. The results should be measure (sometime by the robot, sometimes by personal observation).

When will this treatment available?

January, 2017.

University Clinic and Aisoy Robotic Team

About University Clinic

University Clinic is an healthcare technological transfer center which is in charge to provide to the society the advances in clinical research for behavioural science.

About Aisoy Robotics

As pioneers in emotional robotics and artificial intelligence, we are defining the future of play, education and quality of life. We create entertainment emotional robots which are changing the way people play, learn, discover and enjoy their everyday life.

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