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Early-age education and training of autistic children can improve their lives tremendously
A Luxembourg-based company has developed a humanoid social robot that has the potential to significantly improve the lives of children on the autistic spectrum. Through gestures and a variety of facial expressions, QTrobot is more understandable for children and allows them to develop essential social and life skills, among others.
Technological innovation to the rescue
It is estimated that 1 out of every 100 persons in Luxembourg is diagnosed with autism. As common as it is, the disorder remains quite complex, affecting verbal and non-verbal communication, leisure and creative activities.
Losing skills related to language and social interaction affects some 20% of children diagnosed with autism. That is why Lux AI has developed a robot, capable of teaching children those skills and improving their perspectives to communicate better in the future.
“If you invest in early-age education and training of autistic children and do it intensively enough, you can improve their lives enormously. The problem is that at the moment, there is a dramatic shortage of educators and adequate therapies to provide this vital support,” explains Lux AI CEO Pouyan Ziafati. “We believe that our QTrobot can contribute to turning this situation around.”
QTrobot teaching emotions and positive social behaviour through artificial intelligence. Video by LUX AI
The robot is already used in several autism centres in different countries, including France and Luxembourg. Its curriculum covers social and emotional skills, cognitive skills, and it is soon going to integrate self-help skills, teaching autonomy skills, imitation and spatial concept.
As part of a European research and development project, implemented by Lux AI, together with the University of Luxembourg and SecureIoT partners (2018-2020), the content and the programme of QTRobot were enhanced, to ensure they meet security and privacy standards.
This is vital as the robot is equipped with cameras and microphones and collects data. Thus, the Horizon 2020 project is expected to allow this innovative approach to be more widely used in the field of healthcare.