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Collaborating with Kaspar: Using an autonomous humanoid robot to foster cooperative dyadic play among children with autism

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4 Author(s)

This article describes a pilot study in which children with autism alternated between playing a co-operative, dyadic video game with an adult human and playing the same game with an autonomous humanoid robot. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the children, all of whom had difficulties communicating and engaging in social play with others, would display more collaborative behaviours when playing with an adult after playing and interacting with the humanoid robot. Based on our analysis of the children's behaviours while playing the cooperative game, our findings suggest that the children were more entertained, seemed more invested in the game, and collaborated better with their partners during their second sessions of playing with human adults than during their first. One possible explanation for this result is that the children's intermediary play session with the humanoid robot had an impact on their subsequent play session with the adult. Additionally, while the autistic children saw the robotic partner as being more interesting and entertaining, they played more collaboratively and cooperated better with the human adult.

Published in:

Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), 2010 10th IEEE-RAS International Conference on

Date of Conference:

6-8 Dec. 2010