A robot has been specifically designed for children with Autism to assist them in strengthening an individual’s multi-functioning skills.
Called Leka, the motion-sensitive robot provides sensory stimulation through movement, lights, vibration and sound while children play learning games.
According to the DailyMail, the creators of Leka say that the little round robot can assist children with Autism by helping them navigate the challenges of learning and social interaction. Creators of the robot say that it can also help to stimulate children with developmental disorders such as Down’s syndrome or other children with multiple disabilities.
Chief executive and founder of Leka, Ladislas de Toldi, told the Daily Mail that:
“As a robot, Leka is both predictable and stable in its interactions, which is very important for the child’s sense of safety and serenity. Leka caters to the specific needs of the kids and focuses on multi-sensory stimulation. It’s colours, sounds, vibrations help improve sensory processing and reduces anxiety.”
Though still at prototype stage, Leka has been designed as a tool to help parents and caregivers teach their children using play through therapy in their own homes. The robot model revolves around the concept of gamification, where typical elements of gaming, for example point scoring and competition are applied to learning for children.
The robot has been on display at the global consumer electronics and technology trade show CES 2016, in Las Vegas and the company is raising funds through crowdfunding to mass produce it to help children worldwide.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Carol Povey, director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism in the UK said:
“This is a very exciting time for autism, with lots of innovative work going on around virtual reality, communication apps and wearable technology to measure things like stress levels,” she said, “This prototype [Leka] is one of a range of emerging technologies which have the potential to transform the lives of people on the autism spectrum.
“Many autistic people are drawn to technology, particularly the predictability it provides, which means it can be a very useful means of engaging children, and adults too. We use a range of devices and technologies in our own schools, including iPads, cause and effect toys, and software like Games Maker Studio and Minecraft.
“This robot is still in development but holds a lot of promise. We’re particularly interested by the team’s plan to collect data on children’s interaction with the robot and how this data could increase our understanding of autism.
“In the long term, we hope this data will inform better support for people on the autism spectrum.’