Hatfield autism robot at Science Museum

PUBLISHED: 13:32 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:32 17 February 2017

Kaspar, a robot developed by the University of Hertfordshire.

Kaspar, a robot developed by the University of Hertfordshire.

Archant

A robot developed in Hatfield to help children with autism has gone on show in an exhibition at London’s Science Museum.

Kaspar, a child-sized interactive robot with simplified human features devised by the University of Hertfordshire, features in an exhibition

that opened on February 8.

Kaspar, which can talk, comb its hair, hold a toothbrush , and even play drums, is designed to help autistic children learn to communicate and react with other people.

Kerstin Dautenhahn, professor of artificial intelligence at the university, said: ‘Kaspar has been helping many children with autism for over a decade now. The technology has consistently demonstrated its worth in schools across the UK and abroad. In addition, field studies in homes were encouraging and studies have started using Kaspar in hospitals.

“We now want to take this success to the next step and ensure Kaspar’s work can be replicated in those places it is needed the most. We want to turn our prototype into an advanced, robust and commercially viable robot that is available to any child around the world.

“We have the expertise and the technology is ready to go, we just need the funding to take this project to the next level.”

Since Kaspar was invented, 28 robots have been made to the design, helping so far 170 autistic children worldwide.

As the machines are touch-sensitive, they can teach children about appropriate human contact, even laughing when tickled.

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