Jaeryoung Lee, Hiroki Takehashi, Chikara Nagai, Goro Obinata, Dimitar Stefanov
August 26, 2014
Article number: 000010247820140004
Previous studies in the field of robot assisted therapy demonstrated that robots engage autistic children’s attention in a better way. Therefore, the interactive robots appear to be a promising approach for improving the social interaction and communication skills of autistic children. However, most of the existing interactive robots use a very small number of communication variableswhich narrow their effectiveness to a few aspects of autistic childrens’ social communication behaviour. In the present work, we explore the effects of touching and colours on the communication effectiveness between a robot and an autistic child and their potential for further adjustability of the robot to child’s behaviour. Firstly, we investigated touching patterns of autistic and non-autistic children in three different situations and validated their responses by comparison of touching forces. Results showed that patterns of touching by non-autistic children have certain consistency, while reaction patterns in autistic children vary from person to person. Secondly, we studied the effect of colour feedback in autism therapy with the robot. Results showed that participants achieved better completion rate when colour feedback was provided. The results could support the design of more effective therapeutic robots for children with autism.