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Teo, robot for autistic children

Teo is a holonomic base (Triskarino), holding infrared distance sensors, on which a kind of soft, yellow egg (a flanell cotton sack filled by polystirol micro-balls) is fixed. The main body also includes touch sensors which allow to detect if t is caressed, hugged, punched, or hurted. Below the base there is a circle of colour leds, and a loudspeaker is also included to make Teo to tell text, or emit emotional sounds. On the top of the body a hat holds five buttons used to communicate esplicitly with the robot. On the front of the body a magnetic plate allows to compose faces and to include elements on the robot. Teo is intended to be used as an agent, different from the therapist, with which the children affected by ASD can interact. We have implemented some autonomous reactions, mainly to the touch. Teo can also be driven by an operator, or by programs on a remote computer. Teo has been implemente in 4 versions, the first three within the Polisocial project KROG as a mobile element that interacts with a big screen and a Kinect system in ludic activities, and the fourth has been delivered as an operational support to therapies and free play at the Associazione”Il Sogno” ONLUS, in  Castenuovo Garfagnana (LU).