Robots have been widely used in rehabilitation. Among the various applications, robots have been developed to assist children with motor disabilities in play and academic activities. Several studies have shown the efficacy of these robotic tools, not only for allowing children to actively participate in the activities, with direct impact on the development of their cognitive, social, and linguistic skills, but also as a means to assess children's understanding of cognitive concepts, when standard tests cannot be used due to physical or language limitations. In this paper the use of robots for assistive play is reviewed from the perspectives of rehabilitation engineering and robot design, aiming at defining a set of desirable characteristics for such robots. Commercially available robots are then surveyed in comparison to the defined characteristics to evaluate to what extent they can be used as assistive robots for play, learning and cognitive development.
- Assistive robotics
- Augmentative communication
- Cognitive development assessment