Ben Robins

Ben Robins
University of Hertfordshire | UH · School of Computer Science

PhD

About

95
Publications
39,729
Reads
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4,767
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
September 2002 - present
University of Hertfordshire
Position
  • Assistive robots for children with autism
Description
  • The use of robots as mediators to encourage social interaction skills in Children with autism

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
Full-text available
The automatic emotion recognition domain brings new methods and technologies that might be used to enhance therapy of children with autism. The paper aims at the exploration of methods and tools used to recognize emotions in children. It presents a literature review study that was performed using a systematic approach and PRISMA methodology for rep...
Article
Full-text available
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have deficits in the socio-communicative domain and frequently face severe difficulties in the recognition and expression of emotions. Existing literature suggested that children with ASD benefit from robot-based interventions. However, studies varied considerably in participant characteristics, applied...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction : Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by difficulties in social communication and stereotyped behaviours. Due to the increasing number of children with ASD, it is important to continue developing interventions as well as invent new ones. Human-robot interaction can c...
Article
Full-text available
In the late 1990s using robotic technology to assist children with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASD) emerged as a potentially useful area of research. Since then the field of assistive robotics for children with ASD has grown considerably with many academics trialling different robots and approaches. One such robot is the humanoid robot Kaspar that...
Preprint
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic affected our lives deeply, just like everyone else, the children also suffered from the restrictions due to COVID-19 affecting their education and social interactions with others, being restricted from play areas and schools for a long time. Although social robots provide a promising solution to support c...
Article
Full-text available
In this work, we tested a recently developed novel methodology to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) improve their Visual Perspective Taking (VPT) and Theory of Mind (ToM) skills using the huma-noid robot Kaspar. VPT is the ability to see the world from another person's perspective, drawing upon both social and spatial information....
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a contribution aiming at testing novel child–robot teaching schemes that could be used in future studies to support the development of social and collaborative skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We present a novel experiment where the classical roles are reversed: in this scenario the children are the teach...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes a long-term study evaluating the use of the humanoid robot Kaspar in a specialist nursery for children with autism. The robot was used as a tool in the hands of teachers or volunteers, in the absence of the research team on-site. On average each child spent 16.53 months in the study. Staff and volunteers at the nursery were t...
Article
In recent years the possibility of using humanoid robots to perform interviews with children has been explored in a number of studies. This paper details a study in which a potential real-world user trialled a Robot-Mediated Interviewing system with children to establish if this approach could realistically be used in a real-world context. In this...
Chapter
Full-text available
The paper concerns automatic facial expression analysis applied in a study of natural “in the wild” interaction between children with autism and a social robot. The paper reports a study that analyzed the recordings captured via a camera located in the eye of a robot. Children with autism exhibit a diverse level of deficits, including ones in socia...
Chapter
In this paper we present a novel approach to programme Kaspar, a 22 DOF humanoid robot used for robot-assisted therapy with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The original software used to programme Kaspar was developed to primarily be used in research. However, Kaspar is now used increasingly in other environments, operated by non-robot...
Chapter
The study described in this paper investigated the effects of previous exposure to robots on children’s perception of the Kaspar robot. 166 children aged between 7 and 11 participated in the study in the framework of a UK robotics week 2018 event, in which we visited a local primary school with a number of different robotic platforms to teach the c...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies conducted with the humanoid robot Kaspar in the UK have yielded many encouraging results. This paper examines the influence of conducting play sessions with Kaspar on the social and communication skills of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and suggests possible ways for using the robot as a (therapeutic) tool...
Article
Full-text available
Visual Perspective Taking (VPT) is the ability to see the world from another person’s perspective, taking into account what they see and how they see it, drawing upon both spatial and social information. Children with autism often find it difficult to understand that other people might have perspectives, viewpoints, beliefs and knowledge that are d...
Chapter
Autism is a developmental disability defined as deficits in social communication and interaction and presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. A recent study from April 2018, estimates autism’s prevalence to be 1 in 59 children. The symptoms are manifested as continuum or spectrum, from mild to severe manifestations, d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a contribution to the active field of robotics research to support the development of social skills and capabilities in children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) as well as typically developing children. We present preliminary results of a novel experiment where classical roles are reversed: children are here the teachers g...
Chapter
Visual Perspective Taking (VPT) is the ability to see the world from another person’s perspective, taking into account what they see and how they see it, drawing upon both spatial and social information. Children with autism often find it difficult to understand that other people might have perspectives, viewpoints, beliefs and knowledge that are d...
Article
KASPAR is a child-sized, socially-interactive humanoid robot developed by the Adaptive Systems Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) as an educational and/or therapeutic tool to facilitate and help develop communication and social interaction skills in children with autism. Kaspar has been designed to help teachers and parents su...
Conference Paper
In this paper we provide an overview of the study we have recently conducted investigating the possibility of using humanoid robots to teach children with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) about Visual Perspective Taking (VPT). VPT is the ability to see the world from another person's perspective, something that children with ASC often find difficult...
Chapter
In this chapter, Dickerson and Robins outline the way in which examining body movement, gaze, and gesture and their sequential placement can facilitate a better understanding of interactions where a child with an ASD has limited productive language ability. Specifically, the chapter demonstrates the way in which drawing on the principles of convers...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper gives an overview of the design and development of the humanoid robot Kaspar. Since the first Kaspar robot was developed in 2005, the robotic platform has undergone continuous development driven by the needs of users and technological advancements enabling the integration of new features. We discuss in detail the iterative development of...
Conference Paper
The study described in this article is part of our contribution to the Horizon 2020 Babyrobot project, where we have created different play scenarios for children with autism to playfully explore elements that are important in developing Visual Perspective Taking (VPT) skills. Individuals with autism often have difficulty with Theory of Mind (TOM)...
Conference Paper
Children with autism often find it difficult to understand that other people might have perspectives, viewpoints, beliefs and knowledge that are different from their own. One fundamental aspect of this difficulty is Visual Perspective Taking (VPT). Visual perspective taking is the ability to see the world from another person's perspective, taking i...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Interventions using robot-assisted therapy may be beneficial for the social skills development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are lacking. The present research aims to assess the feasibility of conducting an RCT evaluating the effectiveness of a social skills intervention u...
Chapter
Full-text available
Recently, the development and deployment of social robots to support children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) has attracted the attention of researchers in different fields. The main aim of this multidisciplinary research field is to teach and improve the social skills and capabilities of the children through interacting and playing with robo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It remains one of the main challenges for mobile robots in a human inhabited environment to interact with surrounding individuals. Usually, recognizing touch gestures, perceiving proximity information, or distinguishing between individuals is both a cost and configuration intensive task. In this demonstration we utilize inexpensive Bluetooth Low En...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Interacting with humans is one of the main challenges for mobile robots in a human inhabited environment. To enable adaptive behavior, a robot needs to recognize touch gestures and/or the proximity to interacting individuals. Moreover, a robot interacting with two or more humans usually needs to distinguish between them. However, this remains both...
Article
When police officers are conducting interviews with children, some of the disclosures can be quite shocking. This can make it difficult for an officer to maintain their composure without subtly indicating their shock to the child, which can in turn impede the information acquisition process. Using a robotic interviewer could eliminate this problem...
Chapter
There is a danger that when we look at the behaviour of children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) we can wind up behaving like the character searching for his key in a well-known Mulla Nasruddin Sufi tale. In The Lamp and Key the protagonist is described as searching in his garden for a key that he had lost inside his house. When a neighbo...
Article
This paper presents a novel design, implementation, and first evaluation of a triadic, collaborative game involving the humanoid robot, kinesics and synchronization in personal assistant robotics (KASPAR), playing games with pairs of children with autism. Children with autism have impaired social communication and social interaction skills which ma...
Article
The work presented in this paper was part of our investigation in the ROBOSKIN project. The project has developed new robot capabilities based on the tactile feedback provided by novel robotic skin, with the aim to provide cognitive mechanisms to improve human-robot interaction capabilities. This article presents two novel tactile play scenarios de...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we describe a human–robot interaction study, focusing on tactile aspects of interaction, in which children with autism interacted with the child-like humanoid robot KASPAR. KASPAR was equipped with touch sensors in order to be able to distinguish gentle from harsh touch, and to respond accordingly. The study investigated a novel sce...
Article
Full-text available
We describe an exploratory case study about the applicability of different robotic platforms in an educational context with a child with Down syndrome. The robotic platforms tested are the humanoid robot KASPAR and the mobile robotic platform IROMEC. During the study we observed the effects KASPAR and IROMEC had in helping the child with the develo...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes a pilot study in which a novel experimental setup, involving an autonomous humanoid robot, KASPAR, participating in a collaborative, dyadic video game, was implemented and tested with children with autism, all of whom had impairments in playing socially and communicating with others. The children alternated between playing th...
Article
Full-text available
When police officers are conducting interviews with children, some of the disclosures can be quite shocking. This can make it difficult for an officer to maintain their composure without subtly indicating their shock to the child, which can in turn impede the information acquisition process. Using a robotic interviewer could eliminate this problem...
Article
Full-text available
This extended abstract describes the initial pilot work when evaluating the use of the UH Humanoid Robot KASPAR in a specialist nursery for children with social and communication disorders. Staff and volunteers at the nursery were trained in the use of KASPAR and are currently using KASPAR in their day to day activities in the nursery. This paper f...
Conference Paper
Children that have a disability are up to four times more likely to be a victim of abuse than typically developing children. However, the number of cases that result in prosecution is relatively low. One of the factors influencing this low prosecution rate is communication difficulties. Our previous research has shown that typically developing chil...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines interaction involving a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a humanoid robot and a co-present adult. In this paper data from one child (collected as part of the ROBOSKIN project) is analysed in order to evaluate the potential contributions of a conversation analytic perspective to the examination of data relating to socio-...
Article
Full-text available
Robots have been used in a variety of education, therapy or entertainment contexts. This paper introduces the novel application of using humanoid robots for robot-mediated interviews. An experimental study examines how children's responses towards the humanoid robot KASPAR in an interview context differ in comparison to their interaction with a hum...
Data
Full-text available
Questionnaire. (PDF)
Data
Overall interaction metrics (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2). (DOCX)
Data
Response and speaking durations (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2). (DOCX)
Data
Full-text available
Interview questions. (PDF)
Data
Key Points - Names listed overall (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2). (DOCX)
Data
Key words (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2). (DOCX)
Data
Key Points - Specific categories (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2). (DOCX)
Chapter
Full-text available
The goal of the ROBOSKIN project is to develop and demonstrate a range of new robot capabilities based on the tactile feedback provided by a robotic skin covering large areas of the robot body. So far, a principled investigation of these issues has been limited by the lack of tactile sensing technology enabling large scale experimental activities....
Chapter
Our previous research has shown that children respond to a robotic interviewer very similar compared to a human interviewer, pointing towards the prospect of using robot-mediated interviews in situations where human interviewers face certain challenges. This follow-up study investigated how 20 children (aged between 7 and 9) respond to questions of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The work presented in this paper is part of our investigation in the ROBOSKIN project. The project aims to develop new robot capabilities based on the tactile feedback provided by novel robotic skin. The main objective of the project is to develop cognitive mechanisms to improve human-robot interaction capabilities. One application domain that is i...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents a novel set of ten play scenarios for robot-assisted play for children with special needs. This set of scenarios is one of the key outcomes of the IROMEC project that investigated how robotic toys can become social mediators, encouraging children with special needs to discover a range of play styles, from solitary to collabora...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Robots can be very helpful therapeutic tools, especially for children with special needs. In the present paper we describe the application of two robotic platforms with different design parameters in interaction with children with autism and other cognitive impairments. IROMEC is a mobile robotic platform designed for children with different levels...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Play is one of the most important activities in child development. Children with special needs are often excluded from play activities due to the nature of their impairments. This paper describes the use of two types of robots with very different configurations, one humanoid robot (KASPAR) and one mobile robotic platform (IROMEC), in a six month lo...
Article
The work presented in this paper is part of our investigation in the ROBOSKIN project. The project aims to develop and demonstrate a range of new robot capabilities based on robot skin tactile feedback from large areas of the robot body. The main objective of the project is to develop cognitive mechanisms exploiting tactile feedback to improve huma...
Article
form only given. Scaled technologies continue to exhibit variability, driven by both random process effects and systematic structural effects. Process and design rule actions can be taken to reduce, or even eliminate, sources of systematic variability. Random variability is more difficult to combat, but architectural decisions can be made to limit...
Article
The project recognizes the important role of play in child development and targets children who are prevented from or inhibited in playing, either due to cognitive, developmental, or physical impairment, which affect their playing skills leading to general impairment in their learning potential, cognitive development, and may result in isolation fr...
Article
d Vilans, Dutch national expertise center on long term care, The Netherlands . Abstract This article describes the user-centred development of play scenarios for robot assisted play, as part of the multidisciplinary IROMEC 1 project that develops a novel robotic toy for children with special needs. The project investigates how robotic toys can beco...
Article
This article describes a pilot study in which children with autism alternated between playing a co-operative, dyadic video game with an adult human and playing the same game with an autonomous humanoid robot. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the children, all of whom had difficulties communicating and engaging in social play with o...
Conference Paper
The work presented in this paper is part of our investigation in the ROBOSKIN project. The paper presents the completion of the first phase towards skin-based robot assisted play that included a literature review, exploratory studies and building play scenarios. The review highlights aspects of the social and the sensory impairments of children wit...