Jun 22, 2017 | Updated: 01:05 PM EDT

Robota & Leka: Teachers' Robot Assistants Of Children With Autism & Special Needs

May 17, 2017 07:57 PM EDT

Artificial Intelligence Assistans for Children with Autism and developmental Disabilities
(Photo : Alex Wong/Getty Images) Leka, an interactive robot designed for children with special needs, such as autism and other developmental disabilities, is seen during a press event for CES 2017


Teachers of children with special needs have to do routine instructions and activities in line with the treatment they deliver to their students. The repetition of instructions over and over could be very strenuous to tutors educating special pupils. This is where Robota comes in, a robot assistant of children with special needs.

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Robota is an Artificial Intelligence Assistant that assists teachers mentoring special children. The robot has the capability to identify a student in a class that is having signs of distress. With Robota's computer vision and analysis, the AI assistant approaches the student and asks if everything is alright. The robot becomes the confidant of the student having issues within, the robot then converts the dialogue into text. Robota analyzes the student's predicament if he requires immediate treatment or be given special attention to.

Robota will even send text messages to teachers and parents a complaint summary informing the state of the student's condition. Abdullah Shareef, Aditya Shastri, Rithika Korrapolu are Robota's developers who recognized the need for an AI assistant for special children mentors. They said that the need for Robota stemmed from the challenges of special children in the area of communication with their teachers and other adults in a school. At times they are sensitive with their judgments and authority figures can stress them out, reports Tech Crunch.

In the near future, similar robot assistants from other fields will replace humans in areas of their expertise. There is also another AI assistant that comes in the form of a rolling sphere. A robotic toy whose job is to be with autistic children. Leka's design is an orb with a cute face that changes expression, light, and color designed to interact with autistic children. Teachers and caregivers can program Leka with a wide range of activities that will guide children with developmental disabilities, reports Live Science.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), It is a big challenge for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to reach over and communicate. Identifying this condition comes as early as the stage of infancy and is prevalent in ethnic groups across the country, in statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Derivation of technology for their jobs as AI assistants is a product of developers working closely with teachers, caregivers, parents of special children in identifying and addressing the needs that AI assistants will perform in their tour of duty. In the case of Leka, autistic children respond well with robots, says Leka CEO and Co-founder Ladislas de Toldi.


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