Children suffering from autism spectrum disorder tend to find it difficult to recognise the emotional states of others.Robots that are able to demonstrate emotions and engage autistic children in various activities through AI and machine learning are getting more popular.
Dysfunctions of the autism spectrum disorder handicap one's ability to recognise a happy, sad or frightened face, making it more difficult to distinguish between them.However, it turns out that a proper therapy can be facilitated by modern technology from the field of IT.Scientists at MIT Media Lab have developed a personalised system of machine learning combined with elements of an AI nature. It helps robots estimate the level of interest or engagement of children subject to such treatment only to initiate desirable reactions afterwards.
Oggi Rudovic at Media Lab explains that the long-term goal of their scientific effort is not to create robots that might replace therapists but to collect crucial information that the latter might use for the purpose of treatment personalisation. Additionally, it is supposed to create more engaging and natural interactions between robots and autistic children.
Most children subject to the research reacted to the presence of the robot, while they did not treat it like a toy. The robot was treated with respect, nearly like an everyday person would.Making an autistic child show engagement - even if at least for a few seconds - is truly a challenge. It seems that AI and machine learning are the future of such therapies.