New Art & Social Robot Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum

CMU

Art+ Social Robot Therapy

“Community facilitated art therapy classes combined with social robot therapy designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum to engage, inspire and enjoy!”

The Project: Romibo

  • Fine Art Miracles, Inc. (FAM) and Origami Robotics LLC (Origami) are collaborating to offer combined art therapy and social robot therapy: Art & Social Robot Therapy, for children 10 and under, with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis.
  • The Romibo Robot is the first sensory adaptable social and mobile robot for special needs therapy and education. Its ability to address the individual sensory needs of each child with one robot, allows it to increase adoption and efficacy in social therapies. Our working research prototype Romibo (see above), features an integrated system of hardware and software to enable intuitive use for therapy and education. This platform is currently in distribution to universities around the world for use in the domains of autism, traumatic brain injury, dementia and education. FAM and Origami use Romibo to offer Art & Social Robot Therapy to children on the autism spectrum, hosted at various sites in and around the city of Pittsburgh.
  • FAM is developing lesson plans that can be implemented by art therapists in conjunction with the Romibo robot as part of this initiative. These lesson plans will eventually be made into apps and will be available worldwide, helping thousands of children on the autism spectrum as an offshoot of this seed project.

 

Aubrey Shick, CEO, Origami Robotics:cartoon romibo

While the robot, after 8 weeks, is clearly not a solution for all children (some kids were not as interested), but for others it can make a tremendous difference. with behavior modeling, teaching reciprocity, theory of mind, conflict resolution, creative play, peer play, motivating physical activity, promoting manners and modulation.

We filmed the robots at a local preschool with both neurotypical children as well as with children with special needs.  The filming was all group activities with the robot along with a few interviews with children and teachers.

It was amazing. I cannot wait for this video to come out. The footage is just incredible.  So illustrative. The preschool had only been using the robot for a week or so, but huge influence and behavior change was already evident. One teacher remarked that children with autism speak more when the robot is around, which makes their peers in turn speak more to them. Stimulating peer play is extremely valuable in building social skills. They were so excited to be in the video and to endorse the robot.

Romibo is a fantastic tool for capturing the attention of all aged children and motivating them to engage with the teacher or caregiver. A caregiver is able to puppet the robot with an iPad as an supporting social agent during learning and play. The iPad is able to control Romibo’s speech, mobility, gesture, and expression. By using the robot, teachers are able to model social behavior and bring out nurturing behavior in children. The children are eager to impress, educate and protect the robot. They are not possessive as with other pieces of technology. Some children, particularly those with social, behavioral and emotional disabilities, may be unkind to the robot to get attention or for entertainment.  The teacher is able to use Romibo’s speech and movement to model discomfort, disapproval and sadness from the point of view of robot.  The teacher then explains why the robot is upset and helps the child understand Romibo’s feelings and allows the child to apologize. This understanding of theory of mind and ability to influence a change in the child’s behavior is very difficult to attain. Social stories like this are often modeled in storybooks, or more recently, with screen-based characters and avatars. The embodiment of the robot bridges the gap, allowing the children to bring their learned behavior into reality.

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Romibo’s ability to model behavior makes a perfect tool for engaging, motivating and educating individuals of all ages and abilities. Romibo can help teach language skills, even speaking spanish, motivate exercise with “Simon Says,” capture attention with “I Spy,” motivate creativity with “Tell me a story”, and many other social games.

Tropical Fish Paintings After Joan Miro

SingingFish“What I am looking for… is an immobile movement, something which would be the equivalent of what is called the eloquence of silence, or what St. John of the Cross, I think it was, described with the term ‘mute music’.”

- Joan Miro

fish1

 

“I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”

- Joan Miro

 

fish2“The simplest things give me ideas.”

- Joan Miro

Birch Tree Charcoal Works After Gustav Klimt

tree1“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.”

  - Gustav Klimt

 

“Art is a line around your thoughts.”tree2

  - Gustav Klimt

 

tree3“Today I want to start working again in earnest – I’m looking forward to it because doing nothing does become rather boring after a while.”

  - Gustav Klimt

Butterfly Pastel Drawings After Andy Warhol

butterfly1“Pop art is a way of liking things.”

  - Andy Warhol

 

“They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”butterfly2

  - Andy Warhol

 

butterfly3“Art is anything you can get away with.”

  - Andy Warhol

Poinsettia Pastels After Picasso’s Blue Period

pastel1“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

  - Pablo Picasso

 

“It takes a very long time to become young.”pastel2

  - Pablo Picasso

 

pastel3“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

  - Pablo Picasso

Charcoal Drawings After Mark Escher

escher1“It sometimes seems to me that we are all afflicted with an urge and have a longing for the impossible. The reality around is too common, too dull, too ordinary for us. We hanker after the unnatural, the supernatural, that which does not exist… We long for a miracle!”

  - Mark Escher

 

“To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am.”escher2

  - Mark Escher

 

escher3“Which reality is more powerful, the reality of the present or our memory of the past? We all know there are unreal worlds, but are we quite sure there is a real one? I can’t answer that.”

  - Mark Escher

Lighthouse Paintings After Edward Hopper

hopper1“In general it can be said that a nation’s art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people”

  - Edward Hopper

 

“My aim in painting has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate impression of nature.”hopper2

  - Edward Hopper

 

hopper3“I believe that the great painters with their intellect as master have attempted to force this unwilling medium of paint and canvas into a record of their emotions.”

  - Edward Hopper

Collaborative Mural Painting

Famous muralist painters may be referenced for these lessons, such as the Mexican Muralists or the Irish Muralists, or murals my be inspired by individual artists such as this Miro inspired Fish Mural.

mural2     mural1

william_Penn_mural_2william_Penn_mural_1




 

 

Muraling is important both as a community effort in the creation of the mural and as community enhancement when the mural is hung and shared with residents, families and visitors.

Other examples of murals include holiday and seasonal murals, floral murals after Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent Van Gogh, or Diego Rivera, still life murals after Paul Cezanne, and more.