Robots are known for being exceptional at repetitive tasks and complex mathematical operations. They work well with other machines… but they’re not necessarily known for giving humans a warm, fuzzy feeling.
But to be fair, have we really given them a chance?
As it turns out, they may be more capable than we think. The QTrobot is one of the first attempts to bring robotics into therapy, and early results are looking great for our new artificial friends.
Designed by LuxAI, a spin-off of the University of Luxembourg, the QTrobot is a simple AI-based robot that helps autistic children feel less overwhelmed during therapy, allowing them to better connect with therapists and parents.
The smiling robot features an LCD face and moving robotic arms, which some children feel more comfortable interacting with than humans. Early testing has shown a reduction in anxiety and common behaviors seen in autistic children, such as hand flapping.
Even more importantly, QTrobot was helpful, but not distracting, during therapy sessions. The cheerful bot simply facilitated a better connection between the therapist and patient. In addition, the interactions were more meaningful than they are with existing tools, such as iPads and tablets – the researchers found that “children play with tablets, but work with robots.”
As for the future of machines giving us the warm-fuzzies, it looks like we can expect more advancements in this area from LuxAI:
“We wanted to democratize social robots,” says Dr. Pouyan Ziafati, co-founder and CEO of QTrobot. “We wanted to take them from research to the real life of people.”
Check out the QTrobot in action: