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Scientists develop "deep learning" robots to empower autistic children



NEW YORK: MIT scientists have developed a new "Deep Learning" network that can help robots measure the quality of their interactions with children with autism spectrum conditions by using data for each child.

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that is related to the development of the brain and affects how a person perceives and socializes with others, resulting in problems in social interaction and communication. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity.

Armed with personalized "deep learning", the child-friendly robot NAO can estimate the commitment and interest of each autistic child based on data specific to that individual, based on a study conducted on 35 autistic children.

The new development can make your life easier.

"The long-term goal is not to create robots that replace human therapists, but to add key information that therapists can use to personalize therapy content and enable interacting and naturalistic interactions between robots and children with autism, "said Oggi Rudovic, the first author of the study.

The perception of the children's reactions by the robot was in line with the estimates of human experts, with a correlation of 60 percent, the researchers said.

"The challenge of creating machine learning and AI [artificial intelligence] working on autism is particularly annoying because the standard AI methods require a lot of data that is similar for each category learned Heterogeneity prevails against normal AI approaches, "said Rosalind Picard, co-author of the study.

In robot-assisted therapy, a human therapist displays flash cards of various faces expressing different emotions, such as happiness, grief, anxiety, and a programmed robot or NAO that shows the same emotions to the child.

The therapist watches as the child grapples with the robot and receives feedback on how to continue the lesson.

NAO is a two-foot robot that resembles an armored superhero or droid that conveys various emotions by altering its eye color, limb movement, and the tone of its voice.

"Therapists say it can be a big challenge for them to only attack the child for a few seconds, and robots grab the child's attention," Rudovic said.

"Humans change their expression in many different ways, but the robots always do it in the same way, and that is less frustrating for the child, because the child learns in a very structured way, as the expressions are shown," he said.

The system created by these researchers is not only based on personalization but also includes profound learning supported by AI.

Deep Learning has been used in automated speech and object recognition programs, making it well-suited to a problem that helps to understand the multiple features of the face, body, and voice that help to understand a more abstract concept, such as a child's engagement.

"Deep learning allows the robot to extract the most important information directly from this data without people having to manually create these functions," said Rudovic.

A personalized framework was created for the therapy robots that could learn from the data of every single child.


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