When it comes to autism, there are many ways to help these specially gifted children (have you seen some of them draw out of memory? Totally amazing stuff!). Well, it seems that technology has advanced even further now to help them by the way of robots. Yes sir, mechanical lifeforms that are intended to make emotional connections with autistic children, considering how these kids tend to struggle when it comes to human interaction.
It seems as though machines do have this knack of resonating with the majority of kids with autism, according to Maja Mataric, co-director of the Robotics Research Lab at USC. I guess since robots are far more simple compared to humans, this is why the “connection” exists. Of course, this does not mean that therapists for autistic children will be out of a job anytime soon, especially when the general public do not have a very high opinion of a robot.
The researchers at USC intend to change that image with their very own creation known as Bandit, coming in a metallic color while being child-sized. Perhaps this is one way of gaining the attention as well as empathy of hard-to-reach kids. Just like Atom in Real Steel who has a shadow boxing function, Bandit is able to mimic the motions of children – including lead a game of Simon Says, now how about that? Heck, he is even more “emotional” than Atom since he is capable of making sad sighs or happy chips. The thing is, will robots make kids attached to them as an end, or are robots the means of helping autistic kids get attached to humans instead?