New Hope for Autistic Children
Autism is a developmental affliction that affects millions of children around the world. Usually diagnosed when children are toddlers, autism affects a child’s ability to communicate and socialize with varying degrees of severity. While there is no cure for autism, researchers in London are hoping to help these children with their social skills in a new and innovative way.
Using some of the most advanced technology available, researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have created Kaspar, a remote control robot. Kaspar is designed to be child-friendly, able to interact with children and provide a meaningful back-and-forth that both stimulates and engages. This type of interaction is especially important for autistic children, who need help with basic social skills. Kaspar has a decidedly human feel, with a life-like laugh and realistic skin. The robot is capable of everything from smiling to playing Wii.
Kaspar has already interacted with 300 children with autism. The robot has been in production since 1998, although the newest version of Kaspar is by far the most realistic and has been proven to have the strongest impact on children. Currently, researchers are entertaining the idea of a long-term study involving Kaspar and his impact.