As you probably already know, we’re big robot-fans here at GeekBeat.TV so we’re pretty geeked about most robotic platforms — especially those designed to help people get better.
The Keepon robot aims to socially engage humans
Beatbot’s robot Keepon isn’t just a cool looking toy — it’s being used to help therapists engage children by using it as a tool to express attentional and emotional behaviours. According to Beatbot’s research, children who are overwhelmed “with the complexity of human social expression” (like some children suffering from autism), find the robot (Keepon) a successful tool for social interaction. Children working with Keepon during therapy sessions have reportedly demonstrated desired behaviours and interactions. This helper robot has 2 cams in each eye, a mic in his nose and 4 motors at the base.
Learning with Popchilla
Interbots calls Popchilla a “puppeteerable robot “and it’s able to express emotions through ear and eye movements and eye colour.
Interbots are now currently developing an iPad application that will work with their Popchilla robot in order to improve “responses to social cues”in children living with autism. The project titled “Character Therapy” is being funded by Spark and will be rolled out at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh this fall.
“By using Popchilla as an intermediary, we hope to increase the understanding of the child’s internal feelings, thus reducing behavioral frustrations. If they are able to identify that they are ‘angry’ and what ‘angry’ means, it can significantly help them understand what they are feeling, reducing behavioral ramifications.” – Cindy Waeltermann, Founder & Director of the Autism Centers of Pittsburgh.
The Autism Center of Pittsburgh
Nao robot, a robot that improves brain functions
Joshua Diehl is embracing robotics in his research, he’s using an interactive humanoid robot called Nao to develop social skills in children living with disorders such as Asperger syndrome and autism. The line of Nao robots can assist therapists and teach children with autism to understand and piece together behavior-based communication and gestures that are normally difficult for them . “The most important part of social interaction is understanding what’s being said and being able to be understood, ” “…if we can bridge this social gap, it will open up so many doors for children with autism and help them in all aspects of their lives.” – Joshua Diehl of the Robot Autism Project.
Paro the helper seal
Paro is a robot-seal therapeutic pet being used in nursing homes and in therapy sessions with special needs children. As the video says, it’s basically a substitute for animal therapy in an environment where a real-life animal would be inappropriate. It has been used in Europe and Japan for over five years, specifically assisting people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and autism. This robot-seal is full of sensors and reacts to petting, heat and sounds. You can even name it and over time it will react when its name is called, and it will additionally develop its own characteristics as well.
Intelligent System Research Institute
Gene Therapy & Cancer Treatment
We’ve been hearing about nanotechnology and RNA for years but earlier this year it was reported in a study by the team at the California Institute of Technology, that their treatment approach to RNA (ribonucleic acid) is capable of breaking down cancer growth proteins with the use of nanotechnology.
By sending these tiny nanoparticle robots (polymer robots covered in a protein called transferrin) traveling through a human’s bloodstream they could potentially block the gene that makes the cancer protein called ribonucleotide reductase. There’s a great deal of controversy surrounding this topic, for many it borders on both the amazing and terribly frightening.
This video of impending sci-fi surgery seriously creeped me out so I thought I’d share- it highlights a robot that you swallow in 15 pieces. Yikes!
(image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons group)