Throughout the month of November 2016, around 20 children with autism have had the opportunity to participate in short interactions and therapeutic work with the small humanoid robot, Zeno, and with therapists at the Queensmill School in London (UK) in the framework of the DE-ENIGMA project.
During this study, the University College London (UCL) team worked with autistic children (half of them in the robot-assisted emotion teaching group and the other half in the researcher-only group). Children in the researcher-only groups also had an opportunity to see Zeno. As was the case in previous studies held in Belgrade (Serbia), there were a range of reactions to Zeno, from great excitement to extreme caution.
Hosted by DE-ENIGMA partner, the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), the main objective of the project is to develop effective and user-adaptable styles of robot behaviour for interaction with autistic children, leading to more personalised and effective therapies than previously available. It will support the enhancement of children’s social imagination skills. In June and September 2016, DE-ENIGMA partners successfully held the first therapy sessions in the testing site in Belgrade.
The DE-ENIGMA project, funded by Horizon 2020 (the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation), aims to create and evaluate the effectiveness of robot-based technology, developed to support autistic children in their learning.