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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 […]
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Theatre Robot Actor

Human social interactions are based on the correct response to social situations. If someone does not respond in an expected way, he/she is margined by the others. Thus, robots that interact with humans in everyday life places, such as home, office, classroom and public spaces, should not only accomplish their task, but also be accepted by humans, which means that they feel comfortable to interact with robots. As a consequence, social robots must have the capacity to show emotions and behave in a socially correct way. However, building robots that could accomplish their tasks and show emotion is not an easy job due to the difficulty to select the correct emotion, show the emotion in a way that could be understandable by humans, together with all the traditional problems to perform a given task. This makes crucial to find a real environment that allows focusing the research efforts on the production of effective social and emotional interaction, without the need for other abilities (e.g., emotion detection, status detection, person recognition, etc.). Several researches have suggested that theatre could be an excellent place to test social and emotional abilities, due to theatre constraints that make the actor know what to say, […]
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