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Social robots and autism


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Social Robots and Autism, Tony Belpaeme, Plymouth University

Social Robots and Autism, Tony Belpaeme, Plymouth University

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  • 1. Social Robots and Autism Tony Belpaeme Plymouth University
  • 2. Social robots • What are social robots?
  • 3. Social robots • What are social robots? • Robots that evoke a social response from people • Robots that correctly respond to social cues • Social robots are not service robots • They will not make you a cup of tea or clean the house • Most social robots are not intelligent (yet) • Artificial Intelligence is not mature enough to make robots “autonomous”.
  • 4. Aldebaran Nao KeepOn Pleo USC Pioneer robot
  • 5. Social robots and healthcare • Variety of potential healthcare applications. • Provision of health education • Supporting communication between patients and healthcare professionals • Compliance and persuasion • Providing entertainment for patients. (Boston Globe)
  • 6. Physical versus on-screen robot • Study in which children play a quiz. • Two conditions: physical robot or on-screen robot. • Attention and number of fixations significantly higher. 12 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Robot Quiz screen Other Lookingtime(s) On screen robot Physical robot p<0.01 Looking duration in 10 min. session F(1,8)=57,30 (Belpaeme et al., 2013, Journal of HRI)
  • 7. Robot tutoring • Adult participants solve a puzzle and get lessons on how to: when the lesson is provided by a social robot, people become twice as fast in solving the puzzle (Leyzberg et al. 2014) Leyzberg, D., Spaulding, S. and Scassellati, B. (2014) Personalizing robot tutors. HRI2014.
  • 8. Robot tutoring - children • Robots can also teach children new knowledge • No difference in performance between an on-screen robot and a real robot Kennedy, J., Baxter, P., Belpaeme, T. (submitted) Children InteractingWith a Robot Tutor Overcome Learning Bias.
  • 9. More observations • Children are more accepting of the robot’s “flaws”, when the robot personalizes its responses. • Trend towards more learning by the child. • Children will align with the robot (use same language, same posture). • Children quickly settle in a turn taking pattern with the robot.
  • 10. Child-Robot Interaction
  • 11. Robot results in more compliance • Keeping a diabetes diary is important for diabetes self- management • Learn about diabetes. • Recognize patterns, (day, weekend, season). • Link own behavior with glucose levels (apply knowledge). • Personal robot stimulates use of diary and medical adherence • Children meet robot in person at hospital or at home • They keep a diary for two weeks • Robot helps filling in the diary through a video conferencing
  • 12. Het dagboekje: Mijn Zorgpagina
  • 13. Experiment • 6 children with diabetes (9-12 yrs old) • Within subject design • Survey of how do children experience filling in a diary with the robot • Log of how do the children use the diary • Observations of how do the children behave with the robot • Measures • time spent on filling in diary (seconds) • amount of feedback given (number of characters) Filling in diary Characters in activity log (sig. p = 0.09)
  • 14. Stroke rehabilitation • Case study: 8 y. old, cerebral stroke • Lost mobility in right leg, arm and partial mobility in face • Patient at the Neurology Department • No specific paediatric facilities • Rehabilitation long and frustrating process for patient • Medical staff suggested use of robot • Robot used for motivation and rehabilitation exercises. • Used for 6 days, several times per day, with bespoke activities running on the robot 20
  • 15. Child stroke rehabilitation
  • 16. Social robots and autism
  • 17. Autism • Spectrum of developmental disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) • Deficits in social communication and interaction • Presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour • Varies substantially in the severity and nature of symptoms • Affects 1 in 88 children in the United States • 1% of adult population in the UK • No cure, but early intervention can result in a positive long-term outcome Cent. Dis. Control Prev. (CDC). 2011. Autism spectrum disorders.
  • 18. Therapy for ASD • Behavioral and developmental therapeutic approaches, including pet therapy • Technology-based interventions - Computers (gaming and virtual reality) and video - Social robots
  • 19. Robots and autism • Social robots have been used for autism therapy for about a decade • Robots seem to improve engagement and elicit novel social behaviours from people (especially children and teenagers) with autism Scassellati et al. (2012) Robots for Use in Autism Research. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering: 14: 275-294
  • 20. Kaspar • Minimally expressive robot: reducing complexity of social stimulus • Tele-operated by therapist • University of Hertfordshire
  • 21. Probo • Huggable robot • Green anteater: children have no or very little expectations • Tele-operated by a hidden human operator • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • 22. Nao • Humanoid robot • 58 cm tall, 25 motors, cameras, sensors, on-board processing, WiFi • Rich software suite • Commercial (£7,000) • Aldebaran Robotics + Autism Solutions for Kids (ASKNAO)
  • 23. Why a robot? • Controllable social responses • Social responsiveness of the robot can be controlled, e.g. exaggerated or switched off to avoid overstimulation. • Predictable • Robots behave in a consistent and predictable manner, which seems reassuring for ASD children • Interactive • Robots can interact and play out social interaction scenarios.
  • 24. • Safe • Robots are consistent and potential to be a safe intervention • Cost-effective • Typical behavioural therapy requires min. 15h/week • Human resources are not available • Estimated to cost 3.2 million US$ over lifetime • Motivation • ASD children often have a high level of motivation and involvement when interacting with robots • The robot acts as social mediator Therapist Robot Child
  • 25. Robot as catalyst • n=17 + 11 TD controls, Ages 9-12 high functioning (full‐scale IQ >= 70) • Task: encourage a robot that is afraid of water to approach
  • 26. Robot as catalyst • Both groups show high engagement and positive affect • ASD group post play time with therapist is longer, and free play with robot is longer • More face-to-face orientation to the interviewer • More relevant statements to interviewer’s personal story Kim, Berkovits, Bernier, Leyzberg, Shic, Paul and Scassellati (2012) Social Robots as Embedded Reinforcers of Social Behavior in Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
  • 27. Robot as tutor • Learn to identify situation based emotion • A = baseline phase B = intervention phase • A: no facial and auditory feedback • B: social robot, expressive face and audio cues “Sad” situations: Robot walks and stumbles over a rock. Someone takes lollipop off robot Robot falls and breaks his toy. Happy” situations: Robot goes to shop to buy a lollipop. Robot visits the zoo. Robot plays games on the computer.
  • 28. Robot as tutor • Social stories • 10 animations for each of the two basic emotions (clip fo 15 to 30 seconds) • animations were played on robot's belly screen • after each animation the child is asked of the robot would be happy or sad, by pointing out smiling or frowning face
  • 29. Robot as tutor
  • 30. Robot as tutor
  • 31. Robot as tutor
  • 32. 10 years of ASD/robot research • ASD children are more responsive to feedback, even social feedback, when administered via technology rather than a human (Ozonoff, 1995) • Robots are well-suited for play therapy (Francois et al., 2009, Kim et al., 2012) • Robots elicit interactions (Robins et al., 2009) • More intrinsically interested in therapy when it involves electronic or robotic components (Robins, 2006) • Robot act as a social crutch, assisting children in the transfer process(Robins et al., 2009, Scassellati, 2011) • Facilitates joint attention episodes between a child and an adult (Robins et al., 2004, Meltzoff et al., 2011)
  • 33. … however, the story is subtle • Increase but also decrease in social communication when interacting with a robotic interlocutor in comparison to a human interlocutor (Pioggia et al., 2008) • Greater interest in a robot therapeutic partner than a human, but better verbal and nonverbal imitation performance in response to the human partner (Duquette et al., 2010)
  • 34. The limit of our knowledge • Almost all evidence is N=1, or to a lesser extent anecdotal or driven by commercial interest • Given the “spectrum” nature of autism, it is unclear if observations carry over to other children • Robot-assisted therapy for autism needs larger scale studies. • Questions • Does it last, or does the response to robots wear off? • What is the long-term beneficial effect of interacting with robots? • Why do ASD children respond well to robots?
  • 35. • The DREAM project • Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with AutisM spectrum disorders • Robot-enhanced therapy • Assessment/data collection using robotic technology • Supervised autonomy for therapeutic robots • Building a cognitive model of the child (Theory of Mind) • Real-world deployment • Ethics of robots in therapy
  • 36. University of Plymouth Artificial intelligence University of Portsmouth Computer vision Skovde University Cognitive modelling Aldebaran Robot hardware De Montfort University Ethics Vrije Universiteit Brussel A&V perception Universitatea Babes Bolyai Autism evaluation
  • 37. • Address shortcomings of current robot-assisted therapy research, i.e. • Low participant numbers, lack of control conditions • Unclear diagnostic and inclusion criteria • Lack of quantitative measures, overreliance on anecdotal evidence • Move away from robot-directed behaviour • Autonomous robots instead of human operated
  • 38. Thank you • ALIZ-E and DREAM teams, esp. Ramona Simut and Bram Vanderborght • Funded by FP7 ALIZ-E and FP7 DREAM projects • Further reading • Scassellati, Admoni, Mataric (2012) Robots for use in autism research. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering: 14:275-294 • Thill, Pop, Belpaeme, Ziemke and Vanderborght (2013) Robot-assisted therapy with (partially) autonomous control: challenges and outlook. PALADYN Journal of Behavioral Robotics: 3(4): 209-217 • Robins, Dautenhahn, Dickerson (2009) From isolation to communication: A case study evaluation of robot assisted play for children with autism with a minimally expressive humanoid robot. ACHI2009, Cancun, Mexico.