Workshop on Robotic-Mediated Behavior Intervention

Americas, News, August 8 2017

The organizers of the First Interdisciplinary Workshop on Robotic-Mediated Behavior Intervention today announced that a workshop focused on robots and autism will be held on September 23, 2017 at UMASS Lowell’s New England Robot Evaluation and Validation Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. Autism incidence rates in the US have risen sharply over the years and the Center for Disease Control estimates that it now affects 1 in 68 children.

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Children with autism engage more readily with robots rather than humans, because robots are simple and predictable. Photo: University of Portsmouth

The themes of this workshop are: Creating a common cause for identifying ever better fact-based tools, strategies, and methodologies to establish robot-mediated intervention as an effective EBP in autism and discussing research challenges in the design and development of robot hardware and software (algorithm, language, interface) that are needed to be addressed to enable seamless integration of robots in existing clinical practice in autism.

Invited speakers presenting at the workshop will include: Dr. Shelley Margow, clinical director of Children’s Therapy Works; Dr. Stephanie Walsh Matthews, Associate Professor Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Ryerson University; Dr. Pamela R. Rollins, Associate Professor in the Communication Disorders program within the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders; Matthew Goodwin, Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, Bouve College of Health Services, College of Computer & Information Science, Department of Health Sciences; Richard Margolin, the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of RoboKind, developer of some of the world’s most recognizable facially expressive and socially interactive robots.

The organizers include Momotaz Begum, Assistant Professor in Computer Science, University of New Hampshire, Michael Radice, Chairman, Technology Advisory Board, ChartaCloud | ROBOTTECA, Dr. Greg Firn, CEO RoboKind and Richard Margolin, the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of RoboKind.

The Organizers further stated that with hundreds of social robots already serving as a tool in autism therapies we believe that by working together to organize this workshop we could make a positive impact and advance the work of robotics researchers and developers (both in academia and industries), clinical researchers in autism, special education teachers, therapists, parents and family members of autistic children. Robokind provides the Milo robot and ChartaCloud provides the NAO robot from Softbank Robotics, two of the most popular robots being used in autism research and mediated intervention.

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