QTrobot, a robot designed to help children on the autistic spectrum, is now close to finishing development.

Applied robotics keep expanding its portfolio each and every year. From DARPA created disaster micromachines to robots that look like Eve from Wall-E and help people navigate cities, we edge ever closer to a future of automation.

So what is the QTrobot and how can it help students on the autism spectrum?

image of the QTrobot from LuxAI for article QTrobot Seeks to aid Students on the Autism Spectrum
QTrobot | LuxAI via TechCrunch

Connecting Parents, Students, and Therapists

The gleeful little robot sports an LCD face and robotic arms. It goes by the name QTrobot, created by LuxAI to improve interaction between parents, therapists, and students on the spectrum.

Ahead of their presentation at IEEE RO-MAN 2018 on August 27 – 31, their co-founder spoke out about QTrobot’s capabilities. Aida Nazarikhorram, the aforementioned co-founder, expounded on how it can reduce anxiety for autistic children.

Researchers noticed that the robot reduced hand flapping behavior in particular.

Essentially, the robot acts as a link and functions more effectively than a tablet might. Due to the fact that tablets often also include “play time activities”, the purpose of the robot remains distinct. It is a tool for learning and working, albeit a fun tool.

Researchers attribute the robot’s effect on autistic children to this trait.

The robot is, in fact, an “embodied” and physical thing as opposed to just a screen. It draws attention, improves learning, and comes equipped with a full processor and 3D camera. It is also totally self-contained and easy to program.

image of the QT robot from Space Dandy for article QTrobot Seeks to aid Students on the Autism Spectrum
The robot known as QT from the anime Space Dandy | Bones

Pro-tip: it Also Comes in Handy for R&D

The robot in the gif above is QT from the anime Space Dandy. It’s a delightful and surreal romp through space with no real purpose. QT stands out as one of the most coherent characters and voices of reason in the show.

Though LuxAI might not have taken their inspiration from this quirky bot, the real world QT and this one have many commonalities when it comes to usefulness in being assistive and socially assistive robots.

The QTrobot from LuxAI, while improving relations between autistic children, parents, and therapists, can also be helpful when it comes to research.

As their website says, it is fully programmable for a variety of projects. Naturally, it does best with human/robot interaction based initiatives.

In fact, SecureIoT uses the QTrobot for its coaching and healthcare aspects to prepare for Industry 4.0. The social assistance QTrobot also provides supports to the EU-funded project.

The University of Luxembourg used the QTrobot for the Assistive Social Robot Impact on Senior’s Functioning pilot study. They also are currently using the robot in research to improve emotional skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

If the researchers can develop the robot’s capabilities further, it may well become a useful teaching tool or even one of our future household robots.

How else can socially assistive robots improve human-to-human interactions and communication?

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