• Question: how does your robot help autistic children?

    Asked by shakespare to Alyssa on 8 Jan 2018. This question was also asked by DaBestUnicorn, starblack.
    • Photo: Alyssa Alcorn

      Alyssa Alcorn answered on 8 Jan 2018:

      Our project team doesn’t yet know if our robot (or rather, the teaching programme that uses the robot) will be able to help children on the autism spectrum learn new emotional skills, or improve the skills they have. We are currently developing new robot behaviours and activities and testing these with small groups of children, working toward a larger final study. That experimental study will very carefully compare our programme with another way of teaching, to see if it makes a difference to children’s skills in recognising and understanding facial emotions.

      Of course, the whole project team hopes very much that what we do will be helpful and we are working hard to make that happen. However, there is no guarantee that that will happen. Conducting an experiment with the finished robot is the only way to find our for sure.