Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

April 3, 2013

Teaching robot a hit with autistic students

HAVERHILL, Mass. — NAO the robot entertained a school audience by dancing “Gangnam Style” — just like South Korean pop singer PSY.

But when he’s at his day job, Haverhill’s state-of-the-art automaton works with teachers and young autistic children.

Haverhill is among a few school districts in the United States chosen by the Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics company as a test site for its newest humanoid robot.

NAO, as it’s called, was developed specifically to assist teachers working with students who suffer from autism, said Olivier Joubert, a programmer for the company.

According to information provided by Aldebaran, NAO is “a fully interactive, versatile, fun and continuously evolving humanoid robot able to host educative, entertaining and daily-life assistance applications.”

“Most children diagnosed with autism are attracted to technology to some extent because of its predictability, low amount of sensory information to process, and judgment-free demeanor compared to human interactions,” Joubert said. “While NAO cannot cure autism, we believe he will not only makes kids smile, but more importantly teach them important social interaction skills.”

Moody School Principal Maureen Gray said the company tested the 22.5-inch-tall robot at the school before it arrived for good two weeks ago.

“It was incredible to see how well NAO did with some of our autistic students,” Gray said. “Some students who barely react to people had a great reaction to the robot.”

Moody School’s 200 prekindergarten students include a mix of regular and special education students in integrated classrooms, Gray said.

NAO uses two built-in cameras and vocal recognition software to recognize faces and voices, Joubert said. It can even play catch by using its “prehensile” fingers to grasp a ball, he said.

When the program was opened to elementary schools, Haverhill was one of 30 to 40 American schools that contacted the company, Joubert said.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks