Big Ideas for the Future report.
The Hertfordshire team led by Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn at the University of Hertfordshire are using interactive humanoid robots as therapeutic ‘toys’ to help children with autism. They developed KASPAR (short for Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics), a child-like robot.
KASPAR can be controlled and tailored to an individual child’s development needs. While obviously non-human, it has simple human features, minimal expressions and predictable movements. The robot acts as a mediator, encouraging children to communicate with people, at first indirectly and then directly. The research has the potential to transform the social and educational development of children living with autism in the future.