Dr Kerstin Dautenhahn and her team to help children with autism was displayed recently at the Royal Society.
The Rise of the Machines event, which was held in conjunction with SCI-FI-London, questioned if robots have an important role as future human assistants, if they can be taught to be "social beings" and what uses could they have in human society.
Dr Dautenhahn and her team are European leaders in the field of developing robots as social companions and set up a new Robot House last year for this purpose.
One of these robots, KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robots) is a child-sized robot currently being used in human-robot interaction studies including studies of the possible therapeutic and educational benefits of "robotic mediators" for children with autism.
The next step is to equip KASPAR with 'human skin' and take it into another local school this autumn so that it can continue to engage with children with autism and the academics can develop it further.