Learning switch scanning skills by playing with robots

Kim Adams*, Adriana María Rios Rincón, Pedro Encarnação, Gonçalo Piedade, Bruce Helmbold, Corinne Tuck

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Manipulating and controlling assistive technology (AT) tools remains challenging for some children with severe multiple disabilities. In the area of communication, for example, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) via switch scanning may be an optimally viable option for children with significant physical limitations. However, children's acquisition of switch scanning may be hampered by the dearth of evidence-based training protocols and the cognitively demanding nature of the task, diminishing motivation. Introducing AAC scanning skills may be facilitated by incorporating switch-controlled robots. Robot mediated play tasks can be designed such that specific switch scanning skills are trained in a potentially engaging setup. This paper reports the technical developments of physical and software-driven virtual robots controlled using switches to perform different play activities. A robot mediated switch training protocol informed by end-user trials is also reported.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAssistive technology
    Subtitle of host publicationfrom research to practice
    EditorsPedro Encarnação, Luís Azevedo, Gert Jan Gelderblom, Alan Newell, Niels-Erik Mathiassen
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Publication series

    NameAssistive Technology Research Series
    ISSN (Print)1383-813X
    ISSN (Electronic)1879-8071


    • Augmentative communication
    • Computer access
    • Robot
    • Scanning


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