Dr Kerstin Dautenhahn and her team from the School of Computer Sciences, made its appearance at The National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Professional Conference in Manchester this week (28-29 February).
Senior autism professionals from the across the UK were delighted to see KASPAR, an innovative therapeutic toy, helping children with autism to develop their communication skills. KASPAR (short for Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics) can be controlled and tailored to meet an individual child’s development needs.
While KASPAR is obviously non-human, it has simple human features, minimal expressions and predictable movements. Its simplistic facial expressions are designed to help children with autism interpret people’s feelings and emotions – something which other children take for granted. By engaging children in simple turn-taking and imitation games, the children are encouraged to interact with the robot and also with other people. KASPAR has the potential to transform the social and educational development of children living with autism in the future.