Robot-Assisted Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders with (Partially) Autonomous Control: Challenges and Outlook

  • 1 Interaction Lab, Informatics Research Centre, University of Skövde Högskolevägen, 54128 Skövde, Sweden
  • 2 Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Babes-Bolyai University 37, Republicii Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Pleinlaan, 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 4 School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, University of Plymouth Portland Square A318, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom

Abstract

Robot-assisted therapy (RAT) is an emerging field that has already seen some success and is likely to develop in the future. One particular application area is within therapies for autism spectrum disorders, in which the viability of the approach has been demonstrated.

The present paper is a vision paper with the aim of identifying research directions in the near future of RAT. Specifically, we argue that the next step in such therapeutic scenarios is the development of more substantial levels of autonomy which would allow the robot to adapt to the individual needs of children over longer periods of time (while remaining under the ultimate supervision of a therapist). We argue that this requires new advances on the level of robot controllers as well as the ability to infer and classify intentions, goals and emotional states of the robot’s interactants. We show that the state of the art in a number of relevant disciplines is now at the point at which such an endeavour can be approached in earnest.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] Task Force on DSM-IV. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR.,, American Psychiatric Association (2000).

  • [2] R. L. Simpson, T. Hagiwara, and K. T. Cook, Behavioral approach to assessment of youth with emotional/behavioral disorders: A handbook for school-based practitioners (Pro-Ed, Austin, TX, 2003), chap. Autism spectrum disorders: Assessment options and strategies., pp. 419–461, 2nd ed.

  • [3] D. Berkell Zager, Autism: Identification, education and treatment. (Erlbaun, Mahwah, NJ, 1999).

  • [4] B. Prizant and E. Rubin, The Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Disabilities 24, 199 (1999).

  • [5] S. H. Lee, R. L. Simpson, and K. A. Shogren, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 22, 2 (2007).

  • [6] S. Baron-Cohen, A. M. Leslie, and U. Frith, Cognition 21, 37 (1985).

  • [7] S. Eldevik, R. Hastings, J. Hughes, E. Jahr, S. Eikeseth, and S. Cross, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 38, 439 (2009).

  • [8] National Research Council, Educating Children with Autism. (The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2001), chap. Front Matter.

  • [9] K. McGoey, T. Eckert, and G. Dupaul, Journal of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders 10, 14 (2002).

  • [10] A. N. Peters-Scheffer, R. Didden, H. Korzilius, and P. Sturmey, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 5, 60 (2011).

  • [11] I. Magiati, T. Charman, and P. Howlin, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 48, 803 (2007).

  • [12] P. Sturmey and A. Fitzer, Autism spectrum disorders: Applied behavior analysis, evidence and practice (Pro-Ed, Austin, TX, 2007).

  • [13] P. Duker, R. Didden, and J. Sigafoos, One to one training: Instructional procedures for learners with developmental disabilities (Pro-Ed, Austin, TX, 2004).

  • [14] O. I. Lovaas, Teaching individuals with developmental delays: Basic intervention techniques. (Pro-Ed, Austin, TX, 2003).

  • [15] J. L. Matson and K. R. Smith, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 2, 60 (2008).

  • [16] S. Eikeseth, Research in Developmental Disabilities 30, 158 (2009).

  • [17] P. Howlin, I. Magiati, and T. Charman, American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 114, 23 (2009).

  • [18] S. J. Rogers and L. A. Vismara, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 37, 8 (2008).

  • [19] D. Scattone, Psychology in the Schools 44, 717 (2007).

  • [20] C. Nikopoulos and M. Keenan, Behavioural interventions 18, 87 (2003).

  • [21] M. Weiss and S. Harris, Behaviour Modification 25, 785 (2001).

  • [22] F. Happe, Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders 1, 640 (2005).

  • [23] A. Klin, D. Lin, P. Gorrindo, G. Ramsay, and W. Jones, Nature 459, 257 (2009).

  • [24] B. Scassellati, Robotics research 552–563 (2007).

  • [25] A. M. Leslie, Mapping the Mind Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994), chap. ToMM, ToBy and Agency: Core architecture and domain specificity, pp. 119–148.

  • [26] C. A. Prothmann, C. Ettrich, and S. Prothmann, Anthrozoos 22, 161 (2010).

  • [27] M. J. Sams, E. V. Fortney, and S. Willenbring, The American journal of occupational therapy 60, 268 (2006).

  • [28] F. Martin and J. Farnum, Western Journal of Nursing Research 24, 657 (2002).

  • [29] A. Grigore and A. S. Rusu, D. Society and Animals p. in press (2012).

  • [30] I. Werry and K. Dautenhahn, in Procs SIRS99, 7th Symposium on Intelligent Robotic Systems (1999).

  • [31] J. J. Diehl, L. M. Schmitt, M. Villan, and C. R. Crowell, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 6, 249 (2012).

  • [32] E. S. . Kim, R. Paul, F. Shic, and B. Scassellati, 1 (2012), URL http://humanrobotinteraction.org/journal/index.php/HRI/article/view/25.

  • [33] L. Quirmbach, A. Lincoln, M. Feinberg-Gizzo, B. Ingersoll, and S. Andrews, Journal of autism and developmental disorders 39, 299 (2009).

  • [34] S. Ozonoff, Neuropsychology 9, 491 (1995).

  • [35] F. Michaud, P. Lepage, and J. Leroux, in International Symposium on Robotics (2000).

  • [36] B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, R. Boekhorst, and A. Billard, Universal Access in the Information Society 4, 105 (2005).

  • [37] H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, and Y. Yasuda, in EEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication. (IEEE, 2005), pp. 341–346.

  • [38] K. Dautenhahn, I. Werry, J. Rae, P. Dickerson, P. Stribling, and B. Ogden, Socially Intelligent Agents - Creating Relationships with Computers and Robots (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002), chap. Robotic Playmates: Analysing Interactive Competencies of Children with Autism Playing with a Mobile Robot.

  • [39] G. Pradel, P. Dansart, A. Puret, and C. Barthelemy, in IECON 2010-36th Annual Conference on IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (2010), pp. 1540–1545.

  • [40] D. François, S. Powell, and K. Dautenhahn, Interaction Studies 10, 324 (2009).

  • [41] B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, and P. Dickerson, in Second International Conferences on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, 2009 (IEEE, 2009), pp. 205–211.

  • [42] B. Robins, P. Dickerson, P. Stribling, and K. Dautenhahn, Interaction studies 5, 161 (2004).

  • [43] B. Vanderborght, R. Simut, J. Saldien, C. A. Pop, A. S. Rusu, S. Pintea, D. Lefeber, and D. O. David, Interaction Studies 13, (2012), pp. 348–372.

  • [44] C. A. Pop, R. E. Simut, S. Pintea, J. Saldien, A. S. Rusu, J. Vanderfaeillie, D. O. David, D. Lefeber, and B. Vanderborght, in International Conference on Innovative Technologies for Autism Spectrum Disorders. ASD: Tools, Trends and Testimonials (2012).

  • [45] R. E. Simut, C. A. Pop, J. Vanderfaeillie, D. Lefeber, and B. Vanderborght, in International Conference on Innovative Technologies for Autism Spectrum Disorders. ASD: Tools, Trends and Testimonials. (2012).

  • [46] A. Tapus, A. Peca, A. Aly, C. A. Pop, L. Jisa, S. Pintea, A. S. Rusu, and D. O. David, Interaction studies 13, 315 (2012).

  • [47] B. Scassellati, H. Admoni, and M. Matari¢, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering 14, 275 (2012).

  • [48] G. Bird, J. Leighton, C. Press, and C. Heyes, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274, 3027 (2007).

  • [49] K. Dautenhahn and I. Werry, Pragmatics & Cognition 12, 1 (2004).

  • [50] D. Feil-Seifer and M. Matari¢, IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 18, 24 (2011).

  • [51] A. C. Pierno, M. Maria, D. Lusher, and U. Castiello, Neuropsychologia 46, 448 (2008).

  • [52] G. Pioggia, R. Igliozzi, M. Ferro, A. Ahluwalia, F. Muratori, and D. De Rossi, Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 13, 507 (2005).

  • [53] G. Pioggia, R. Igliozzi, M. L. Sica, M. Ferro, F. Muratori, A. Ahluwalia, and D. De Rossi, JCR 1, 49 (2008).

  • [54] B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, and J. Dubowski, Interaction Studies 7, 509 (2006).

  • [55] S. Costa, C. Santos, F. Soares, M. Ferreira, and F. Moreira, in Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) (IEEE, 2010), pp. 3856–3859.

  • [56] P. Ravindra, S. De Silva, K. Tadano, A. Saito, S. G. Lambacher, and M. Higashi, in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) (IEEE, 2009), pp. 3561–3567.

  • [57] D. Feil-Seifer and M. Matari¢, in 11th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics 2008 (Springer, 2008), pp. 201–210.

  • [58] H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, and Y. Yasuda, Progress in Brain Research 164, 385 (2007).

  • [59] H. H. Lund, M. Dam Pedersen, and R. Beck, Artificial Life and Robotics 13, 394 (2009).

  • [60] C. M. Stanton, P. H. Kahn, R. L. Severson, J. H. Ruckert, and B. T. Gill, in 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) (IEEE, 2008), pp. 271–278.

  • [61] P. Stribling, J. Rae, and P. Dickerson, Clinical linguistics & phonetics 23, 555 (2009).

  • [62] J. Wainer, K. Dautenhahn, B. Robbins, and F. Amirabdollahian, in 10th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids) (IEEE, 2010), pp. 631–638.

  • [63] A. Duquette, F. Michaud, and H. Mercier, Autonomous Robots 24, 147 (2008).

  • [64] C. Liu, K. Conn, S. N, and W. Stone, IEEE Transactions on Robotics 24, 883 (2008).

  • [65] T. Landauer, ACM SIGCHI Bulletin 17, 333 (1986).

  • [66] D. Rosenberg and J. Wilson, Handbook of HumanComputer Interaction 39, 859 (1988).

  • [67] T. Belpaeme, P. Baxter, R. Read, R. Wood, H. Cuayáhuitl, B. Kiefer, S. Racioppa, I. Kruijff-Korbayová, G. Athanasopoulos, V. Enescu, et al., Journal of Human-Robot Interaction (2013), in press.

  • [68] D. Feil-Seifer and M. J. Matari¢, Interaction Studies 11, 208 (2010).

  • [69] B. Scassellati, Autonomous Robots 12, 13 (2002).

  • [70] C. Balkenius and P. Björne, in Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Epigenetic Robotics: Modeling Cognitive Development in Robotic Systems (2001), pp. 61–67.

  • [71] J. Butterfield, O. C. Jenkins, D. M. Sobel, and J. Schwertfeger, International Journal of Social Robotics 1, 41 (2009).

  • [72] P. Bonato, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2 (2005).

  • [73] J. A. Kientz, G. R. Hayes, T. L. Westeyn, T. Starner, and G. D. Abowd, Pervasive Computing 6, 28 (2007).

  • [74] C.-H. Ming and A. H. Tewfik, in Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC (2011), pp. 365–368.

  • [75] M. S. Goodwin, W. F. Velicer, and S. S. Intille, Behavior Research Methods 40, 328 (2008).

  • [76] R. R. Fletcher, K. Dobson, M. S. Goodwin, H. Eydgahi, O. Wilder-Smith, D. Fernholz, Y. Kuboyama, E. B. Hedman, P. Ming-Zher, and R. W. Picard, IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine 14, 215 (2010).

  • [77] O. Bogdashina, Sensory perceptual issues in autism and asperger syndrome: different sensory experiences - different perceptual worlds (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003).

  • [78] L. Steels, Trends in cognitive sciences 7, 308 (2003).

  • [79] A. Cangelosi and T. Riga, Cognitive science 30, 673 (2006).

  • [80] D. Marocco, A. Cangelosi, T. Belpaeme, and K. Fischer, Frontiers in Neurorobotics 4 (2010).

  • [81] L. Fogassi, P. F. Ferrari, B. Gesierich, S. Rozzi, F. Chersi, and G. Rizzolatti, Science 308, 662 (2005).

  • [82] W. Erlhagen, A. Mukovskiy, F. Chersi, and E. Bicho, in Proceedings of the 6th IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (Imperial College London, 2007), pp. 140–145.

  • [83] S. Thill and T. Ziemke, in SAB 2010, LNAI 6226, edited by S Doncieux et al (Springer, Heidelberg, 2010), pp. 413–423.

  • [84] S. Thill, H. Svensson, and T. Ziemke, Cognitive Computation 3, 525 (2011).

  • [85] S. Mitra and T. Acharya, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, 37, 311 (2007).

  • [86] Y. Nakano and T. Nishida, Conversational Informatics: an Engineering Approach (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2007), chap. Attentional behaviours as nonverbal communicative signals in situated interactions with conversational agents, pp. 85–102.

  • [87] C. Sidner and C. Lee, Conversational Informatics: an Engineering Approach (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2007), chap. Attentional Gestures in Dialogues between People and Robots.

  • [88] H. H. Clark, Using language, Vol. 4 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996).

  • [89] J. Decety and J. Grèzes, Trends in cognitive sciences 3, 172 (1999).

  • [90] R. Saxe, D. Xiao, G. Kovacs, D. Perrett, and N. Kanwisher, Neuropsychologia 42, 1435 (2004).

  • [91] M. Iacoboni, I. Molnar-Szakacs, V. Gallese, G. Buccino, J. Mazziotta, and G. Rizzolatti, PLoS Biology 3, e79 (2005).

  • [92] R. Black and M. Shiffrar, Annual Review of Psychology 58, 47 (2007).

  • [93] M. Giese and T. Poggio, Nature Reviews Neuroscience 4, 179 (2003).

  • [94] G. Johansson, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 14, 201 (1973).

  • [95] P. E. Hemeren and S. Thill, Frontiers in Psychology 1 (2011).

  • [96] S. Thill, P. E. Hemeren, and B. Durán, in European Perspectives on Cognitive Science: Proceedings of the European Conference on Cognitive Science 2011, edited by B. Kovino, A. Karmiloff-Smith, and N. J. Nersessian (NBU Press, Sofia, 2011).

  • [97] A. Atkinson, W. Dittrich, A. Gemmell, and A. Young, Perception 33, 717 (2004).

  • [98] F. Pollick, H. Paterson, A. Bruderlin, and A. Sanford, Cognition 82, 851 (2001).

  • [99] R. Arkin, Journal of Robotic Systems 9, 197 (1992).

  • [100] D. François, K. Dautenhahn, and D. Polani, in Artificial Life, 2009. ALife’09. IEEE Symposium on (IEEE, 2009), pp. 45–52.

  • [101] C. Breazeal, Designing sociable robots (MIT PRess, 2002).

  • [102] D. Mazzei, N. Lazzeri, L. Billeci, R. Igliozzi, A. Mancini, A. Ahluwalia, F. Muratori, and D. De Rossi, in Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE, 2011), pp. 4515–4518.

  • [103] M. Sarabia, R. Ros, and Y. Demiris, in Proc. 11th IEEE-RAS Int Humanoid Robots (Humanoids) (2011), pp. 670–675.

  • [104] M. Quigley, B. Gerkey, K. Conley, J. Faust, T. Foote, J. Leibs, E. Berger, R. Wheeler, and A. Ng, in Open-source Software Workshop of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (2009).

  • [105] H. Bruyninckx, P. Soetens, and B. Koninckx, in Proceedings of the 2003 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (2003), pp. 2766–2771.

  • [106] J. C. Baillie, in IEEE/RSJ International Conference onIntelligent Robots and Systems (2005), pp. 820–825.

  • [107] J. Jackson, IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 14, 82 (2007).

  • [108] A. Tapus, A. Peca, A. Aly, C. Pop, L. Jisa, S. Pintea, A. S. Rusu, and D. O. David, Interaction Studies 13, 315 (2012).

  • [109] B. Vanderborght, R. E. Simut, J. Saldien, C. A. Pop, A. S. Rusu, S. Pintea, D. Lefeber, and D. David, in Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics workshop IROS (2011), pp. 1–6.

  • [110] H. Kozima, C. Nakagawa, and Y. Yasuda, in Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 2005. ROMAN 2005. IEEE International Workshop on (IEEE, 2005), pp. 341–346.

  • [111] A. Sloman, Cognitive Processing 1, 178 (2001).

  • [112] D. Norman, A. Ortony, and D. Russell, IBM Systems Journal 42, 38 (2003).

  • [113] T. Belpaeme, P. Baxter, R. Read, R. Wood, H. Cuayáhuitl, B. Kiefer, S. Racioppa, I. Kruijff-Korbayová, G. Athanasopoulos, V. Enescu, et al., Journal of Human-Robot Interacion 1, 33 (2013).

  • [114] A. Seth, T. Prescott, and J. Bryson, Modelling natural action selection (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  • [115] C. Breazeal and B. Scassellati, in Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI99) (1999), pp. 1146–1151.

  • [116] K. Loveland and S. Landry, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 16, 335 (2007).

  • [117] H. Miwa, K. Itoh, M. Matsumoto, M. Zecca, H. Takanobu, S. Roccella, M. Carrozza, P. Dario, and A. Takanishi, in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent RObots and Systems (2004), pp. 2203–2208.

  • [118] H. Ishiguro and S. Nishio, Journal of Artificial Organs 10, 133 (2007).

  • [119] H. Miwa, K. Itoh, D. Ito, H. Takanobu, and A. Takanishi, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (2004), pp. 128–133.

  • [120] P. Ekman and W. Friesen, Facial Action Coding System: A Technique for the Measurement of Facial Movement. (Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, 1978).

  • [121] F. Delaunay, J. de Greeff, and T. Belpaeme, in Proceeding of the 5th ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction (2010), pp. 39–44.

  • [122] J. Saldien, K. Goris, B. Vanderborght, J. Vanderfaeillie, and D. Lefeber, International Journal of Social Robotics 2, 377 (2010).

  • [123] A. Sloman, in Workshop on Metareasoning (AAAI, 2011), 8, pp. 12–20.

  • [124] B. Scassellati, in IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (IEEE, 2005), pp. 585–590.

  • [125] F. Amirabdollahian, B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, and Z. Ji, in Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC, 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE (IEEE, 2011), pp. 5347–5351.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics is a fully peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original, high-quality research works and review articles on topics broadly related to neuronally and psychologically inspired robots and other behaving autonomous systems. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS.

Search