Scientists in Croatia say a new robot they have built will make it quicker and easier to detect autism in children.
Equipped with a camera, microphone and speakers the
humanoid, named Rene, records a child’s voice and assesses, among other things, their behaviour and how eye contact is established
Those suffering from autism frequently struggle in social situations, so as a machine Robot Rene also helps put the children at ease.
Rene’s software is also able to adapt to the reactions it receives. In addition, by giving simple, repetitive stimuli, the child is able to focus on a single clear message without all the variables of human interaction which autistic children can often find confusing.
One mother of an autistic child said: “Filip actually watched and was focused on the robot which is not his usual behaviour. He normally runs around and his focus only lasts a few seconds. But when he saw the robot, he looked at it, he sat down, he studied it, and he was very interested.”
Scientists insist the technology is not there to replace clinicians, but to help them better understand childrens behaviour.