Project

EMBOA Affective loop in Socially Assistive Robotics as an intervention tool for children with autism

Goal: The EMBOA project goal is to confirm the possibility of the application (feasibility study), and in particular, we aim at the identification of the best practices and obstacles in using the combination of the technologies. What we hope to obtain is a novel approach for creating an affective loop in child-robot interaction that would enhance interventions regarding emotional intelligence building in children with autism. The lessons learned, summarized in the form of guidelines, might be used in higher education in all involved countries in robotics, computer science, and special pedagogy fields of study.

Visit us at: http://emboa.eu/

Date: 1 September 2019 - 31 August 2022

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Project log

Agnieszka Landowska
added a research item
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 children in their education, healthcare and social interaction with others, the precautions due to COVID-19 also introduced new constraints in the social robotics research. In this paper, we will discuss the benefits and challenges encountered in child-robot interaction due to COVID-19 based on two user studies. The first study involves children with hearing disabilities, and Pepper humanoid robot to support their audiometry tests. The second study includes the child-sized humanoid robot Kaspar and interaction games with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Agnieszka Landowska
added a research item
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 robots, and trained skills. Here, we reviewed robot-based interventions targeting emotion-related skills for children with ASD following the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. We systematically searched for all relevant articles published in English language until April 2021, using the databases Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed. From a total of 609 identified papers, 60 publications including 50 original articles and 10 non-empirical articles including review articles and theoretical articles were eligible for the synthesis. A total of 892 participants were included in the robot-based intervention studies; 570 of them were children with ASD. Nao and Zeca were the most frequently used robots; Recognition of basic emotions and getting into interaction were the most frequently trained skills; while happiness, sadness, fear, and anger were the most frequently trained emotions. The studies reported a wide range of challenges with respect to robot-based intervention, ranging from limitations for certain ASD subgroups and security aspects of the robots to efforts regarding the automatic recognition of the children’s emotional state by the robotic systems. Finally, we summarised and discussed recommendations regarding the application of robot-based interventions for children with ASD.
Agnieszka Landowska
added an update
Partners of the consortium:
Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
University of Hertfordshire, UK
Istanbul Teknik Universitesi, Turkey
Yeditepe University, Turkey
Macedonian Association for
Applied Psychology, North Macedonia
University of Augsburg, Germany
 
Agnieszka Landowska
added a project goal
The EMBOA project goal is to confirm the possibility of the application (feasibility study), and in particular, we aim at the identification of the best practices and obstacles in using the combination of the technologies. What we hope to obtain is a novel approach for creating an affective loop in child-robot interaction that would enhance interventions regarding emotional intelligence building in children with autism. The lessons learned, summarized in the form of guidelines, might be used in higher education in all involved countries in robotics, computer science, and special pedagogy fields of study.
Visit us at: http://emboa.eu/
 
Agnieszka Landowska
added a research item
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 social interaction and emotional expression. The aim of the study was to explore the possibility of applying automatic emotion recognition in analyzing human-robot interaction. The study revealed some challenges, that might be classified as activity-based, child condition-based and setup-based ones. Despite those, the facial expressions in children with autism were on average more positive than in a control group of typically developing children. Children with autism seemed to enjoy the interaction with the robot more. The paper might be interesting for researchers and practitioners who plan to combine social robots and emotion recognition in children with autism.