International Journal on Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology, Vol. 11 (2021) No. 4, pages: 1295-1305, DOI:10.18517/ijaseit.11.4.13725

KERO-Playable Robotic Platform to Contribute to Non-verbal Communication Teaching in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tobar Q. Johanna, Zaldumbide P. Alison, Miranda L. Christian, Bacca C. Bladimir, Caicedo B. Eduardo

Abstract

This work presents the design and construction of a recreational platform named KERO, which is oriented to the development of non-verbal communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) levels 1 and 2, between ages of 4 and 7 years old. The development of a friendly-looking robot with head and upper limbs movement is presented, which can perform 8 gestures such as: Cry, happy, Affirm, Deny, Say Hello, Exclaim, Quiet, Aim. KERO is a social robot that interacts with children with ASD through the usage of an intuitive interface. This interface allows proper interaction with the robot. In this interface, two games were developed to complement the robot-children interaction and increase their cognitive abilities by observing improvements in his/her attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. The tests were validated under two different scenarios, preliminary and field tests, involving psychopedagogues, initial education students, therapists and children with ASD. Tests were carried out in a different number of sessions for each child. Each patient with ASD showed a different degree of social interaction with the KERO playable kit; their therapists evaluated this interaction during all sessions. At the end of the sessions with the patients, an improvement of 45% in recognition of gestures and 23.06% in the execution time of the memory game could be observed.

Keywords:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); social robotics; non-verbal communication; robot-assisted therapy; teaching.

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