Can I have the orange robot? Quartet!
This research focuses on exploring the effect of an autonomous robot in the Pivotal Response Therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This project falls within the Picasso project that investigates the use of robots by therapists engaged in personalized therapy with children with ASD. Currently, the therapists use the robot as a remotely operated device. The aim of the research reported here is to examine how increased robot autonomy can be combined with the therapist still being in control of the therapy. The introduction of more autonomy in robot behavior and interaction increases the time that the therapist can focus on the child. In order to understand whether children perceive an autonomous robot differently than a remotely operated robot, we examined their preferences. Using a within-subject design, fourteen children played with a robot that performed behavior either autonomously or through remote control. The results show that the children do not react differently in the two conditions. Both robots were evaluated as equally engaging for the children. This implies that autonomous robots allow the therapist to focus less on remotely operating the robot and more on the therapy. The results and direction for future research are discussed.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen