Comparison of Physical and Simulated Robot Use by Children with Disabilities and Matched Typically Developing Children

  • Encarnação, Pedro (PI)
  • Cook, Albert M. (Investigador)
  • Londral Gamboa, Ana Rita Mendes (Investigador)
  • Adams, Kim D. (Investigador)
  • Faria Azevedo, Luis Manuel (Investigador)

Detalhes do projeto


Typically, play activities provide opportunities for children to manipulate objects and thereby to learn cognitive, social, motor and linguistic skills. Children who have movement disorders such as Cerebral Palsy (CP) may have difficulty manipulating objects, and this can compromise the quality of play and learning of skills. Consequently these children may be perceived as being more developmentally delayed than they actually are, leading to reduced expectations on the part of teachers, clinicians and parents. Using robots controlled by the children may provide an opportunity to manipulate three-dimensional objects vicariously allowing them to demonstrate the same skills as those of their typically developing peers. Also, children may be able to engage in play activities, thus having the same opportunities to learn cognitive, social, motor and linguistic skills.

However, cost, safety issues, and hardware availability have been limiting the generalized use of robots as rehabilitation tools. The COMPSAR project studied whether a virtual robot in a computer simulated environment provides the same experiences and thus yields the same benefits for children with and without disabilities as the physical robot. If that is the case, virtual robots, simulated environments, objects, and activities could be developed and widely shared and utilized without the need for a physical robot. To address the research question, we evaluated the robot skills of typically developing children, aged three to five years old, when operating both the physical and the virtual robot. The same skills were evaluated with developmentally matched children with disabilities. A comparison between the two groups was made in order to investigate if the use of physical and/or simulated robots by children with disabilities is a feasible method to assess children’s cognitive skills.

Results of the project showed that there were no significant differences between the children’s cognitive skills revelead by the use of the physical robot and the ones revealed by the use of virtual robot. Additionally, the project data provided evidence that the use of robots is a feasible proxy measure of children with disabilities’ cognitive skills.
Data de início/fim efetiva1/07/1030/06/12


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