How Nao Robot Can Help Train Kids with Autism?

Technology developed for helping humankind is the most dynamic facet of today’s newfangled technological era. Engineers and autism experts at Vanderbilt University have validated the same with this extraordinary invention i.e. Nao Robot. Perplexed? Take a look at the wonderful Nao Robot.

About Nao Robot

Nao Robot is a small humanoid robot that has been designed by engineers and experts at Aldebaran Robotics. The robot has been specifically fabricated for helping autistic kids overcome developmental problems. It can provide aid to such children for developing social skills.

Reasons Why Nao Robot is Helpful for Autistic Children

  • Less intimidation and anxiety: Children engage better with NAO than its human therapist counterparts. This has been claimed by a mechanical engineering professor at Vanderbilt, Nilanjan Sarkar. While conducting a study, the team at Vanderbilt University found out that autistic kids tend to spend more time than a naturally growing child while seeing the humanoid robot. The prime reason for this is less pressure and apprehension for kids.
  • Extremely cordial social learning: Autism experts together with mechanical engineers have built an adaptive system by utilizing the fully programmable NAO. The robot is well-equipped with sensors, computers, and cameras in order to help kids develop basic social learning skills. Also, numerous earlier studies have shown that children perform better in social interactions and verbal communication by working with a robot.
  • Exceptional Teaching Resource: Nao has an immense potential to be an outstanding teaching resource. As per Ben Waterworth, a teacher at Topcliffe School in UK, autistic children benefit tremendously by means of Nao Robot. They reveal a different side altogether by working with the robot. They become extremely comfortable and respond to Nao, which they would never do with a human. In presence of a human, autistic children remain shy and thus, more withdrawn and withheld. While, with a robot like Nao, they become outgoing.
  • Magnificent system structure: The primary structure that has been implemented in Nao is ARIA (Adaptive Robot-Mediated Intervention Architecture). This structure enables the robot to give gestures and verbal prompts to kids in order to grab their attention. This helps children with autism develop their most natural skills. For instance, eye contact is one natural skill that autistic children find more difficult to maintain with surrounding objects and people. Nao can help autistic children tremendously in this regard.
  • No annoyance or impatience: Normally, children do get anxious before people because of the pre-conceived notions of living up to one’s expectations. With a robot, they remain placid because it doesn’t expect anything from them. Thus, they are not afraid of any demands and there are no chances of the robot getting impatient or annoyed either.
  • Entertaining friend: Nao is well-programmed to present songs and videos in order to trigger a child’s interest. If the child responds, Nao gives encouragement. If the child doesn’t respond, it offers added support by means of gestures and prompts.

Final Word

Nao is perhaps the greatest epitome of technology benefiting humankind. With respect to its gargantuan potential, autistic children will hopefully undergo notable developments.

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Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.