Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Goal to Build 30 More KASPARs to Help Children with Autism

Our researchers have a goal to build over 30 more KASPAR robots to help children with autism.

Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn and her team first designed KASPAR (short for Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics) in 2005, as part of a study for the European Union (EU) Robotcub project. Realising the robot’s potential as a therapeutic tool for children with autism, the team developed the prototype further.

So far, KASPAR has been trialled with 50 children across the autistic spectrum. As a social mediator, the robot has produced remarkable results for some children.

So what next for KASPAR?

“Field results are over and above what we expected. We are hugely encouraged by this progress and by the interest from autism experts, as well as teachers and parents. The fact that KASPAR is one of the three key platforms in the EU Roboskin project, suggests a bright future for KASPAR in this and other application areas. As intellectual property holders of this technology, we’re now looking to extend the project’s scope in the hope of moving it closer to commercialisation, which is a necessary step towards making the robot widely available. Our next goal is to build many more KASPARs, ideally over 30, and to undertake a five-year, larger-scale evaluation study, working with around 200 children,” explains Professor Dautenhahn.

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