A Case Study in Human-centred Design Methods:
Developing Scenarios for Robot Assisted Play Informed by User Panels and Field Trials Ben Robins, Ester Ferrari, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Gernot Kronreif, Barbara Prazak, Gert-Jan Gerderblom, Francesca Caprino, Elena Laudanna
This article describes the user-centred development of play scenarios for robot assisted play, as part of the multidisciplinary IROMEC1 project that develops a novel robotic toy for children with special needs. The project investigates how robotic toys can become social mediators, encouraging children with special needs to discover a range of play styles, from solitary to collaborative play (with peers, carers/teachers, parents etc). This article explains the developmental process of constructing relevant play scenarios for children with different special needs. Results are presented from consultation with panel of experts (therapists, teachers, parents) who advised on the play needs for the various target user groups and who helped investigate how robotic toys could be used as a play tool to assist in the children’s development. Examples from experimental investigations are provided which have informed the development of scenarios throughout the design process. We conclude by pointing out the potential benefit of this work to a variety of research projects and applications involving human-robot interactions.
Robot as a Social Mediator - a Play Scenario Implementation with Children with Autism
, Ester Ferari, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn Abstract
-- The work described in this paper is part of the IROMEC project1 (Interactive Robotic Social Mediators as Companions). The project recognizes the important role of play in child development and targets children who are prevented from or inhibited in playing, either due to cognitive, developmental, or physical impairments. One of the research questions that guides this project is whether a single robotic toy can be used as a social mediator for children with different special needs, helping them to meet a variety of therapeutic and educational objectives in different developmental areas. The IROMEC project addresses children with autism, mild retardation and severe motor impairment, while this paper specifically focuses on children with autism. An example of one of IROMEC’s play scenarios implemented in user trials with children with autism is described in the paper, using the IROMEC robot prototype. This example considers objectives in different developmental areas relevant to these children.
8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children IDC2009, Workshop on Creative Interactive Play for Disabled Children, June 2009, Como, Italy
Therapeutic and educational objectives in Robot Assisted Play for children with autism
Ester Ferrari, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn
Abstract—The work described in this paper is part of the IROMEC project (Interactive Robotic Social Mediators as Companions) that recognizes the important role of play in child development and targets children who are prevented from or inhibited in playing. The project investigates the role of a robotic toy in therapy and education for children with special needs. This paper specifically addresses the therapeutic and educational objectives related to children with autism. In recent years, robots have already been used to teach basic social interaction skills to children with autism. The added value of the IROMEC robot is that play scenarios have been developed taking children’s specific strengths and needs into consideration and covering a wide range of objectives in children’s development areas (sensory, communicational and interaction, motor, cognitive and social and emotional). The paper describes children’s developmental areas and illustrates how different experiences and interactions with the IROMEC robot are designed to target objectives in these areas.
18th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, (RO-MAN 2009) September 2009, Toyama, Japan
Profiling robot-mediated play for children with disabilities through ICF-CY: The example of the European project IROMEC Serenella Besio, Francesca Caprino, Elena Laudanna
Abstract -- This paper, from the description of the research activities of the ongoing European project IROMEC, discusses the potential role of the brand new version Children and Youth of ICF (International Classification of Functioning and Disability) as an useful resource in the design development and outcomes evaluation of robotic toys used as play mediators in educational and therapy settings with children with physical and/or cognitive impairments. ICF-CY has been used as a methodological framework in users’ needs assessment, in building appropriate task analysis of play activities, in robot requirements definition and in outcomes analysis will be examined. Further and deeper researches are needed to better understand strengths and weaknesses of such an approach.
Computers Helping People with Special Needs, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg ISSN 0302-9743
Critical Factors involved in using interactive robots for Play Activities of Children with Disabilities
Serenella Besio, Silvia Dini, Ester Ferrari, Ben Robins Abstract
-- In this paper the authors present the initial results of the study on Critical Factors involved with play for children with disabilities. The European project IROMEC (Interactive Robotic Social Mediators as Companions IST-2005-2.6.1), that began in November 2006, will investigate how robotic toys can become social mediators, encouraging children with disabilities to play and to interact. Some of these children are unable to play autonomously due to their impairment and/or disability. To help these children learn how to play, a wide range of knowledge and a variety of skills are needed: these are the IROMEC Critical Factors, which are designed to be implemented as a useful basis for developing guidelines for teachers and rehabilitation professionals who would like to introduce robotic toys and methodologies in their work. http://www.booksonline.iospress.nl/Content/View.aspx?piid=7411
In G. Eizmendi, J.M. Azkoitia, G.M. Craddock, Challenges for Assistive Technology, IOS Press, NL.
Analysis of critical factors involved in using interactive robots for education and therapy of children with disabilities
S.Besio, F.Caprino, S. Dini, E.Laudanna, E. Ferrari, P. Marti Abstract
-- This document presents one of the first results of the research carried out inside the IROMEC (Interactive RObotic Social Mediators as Companions, IST-FP6-045356.) Project, a project co-funded by European Commission inside the Information Society Technology activity area of the Sixth Framework Program. It includes and examines all the factors related to the crucial and important points involved in robot mediated playing activities of children with disabilities. The document is intended as a background work to study the possible use and effects of IROMEC as a tool for therapy and education of children with disabilities; as such, it is also a scientific and methodological source not only for IROMEC researchers, but also for teachers, educators and rehabilitation professionals in the field. The term 'Critical Factors' refers here to all the aspects that can influence the development of a robot system acting as a social mediator in a play environment. To better explain, the adjective 'critical' is not used as a synonym of positive or negative, it just means deserving careful consideration and requiring decisions. There may be Critical Factors that have a negative influence, others that yield a positive influence on reaching the project's purpose. Factors that deserve consideration in planning, developing and carrying out robot mediated education and rehabilitation activities addressed to children with disabilities have been clustered around five main headings:
1. Factors related to Play
2. Factors related to the Individual
3. Factors related to the Context
4. Factors related to Technology and Robotics
5. Factors related to Methodology
Following a multidisciplinary approach, each cluster has been studied in-depth within its typical disciplines; factors no. 2 and 3 have been related to the domains and the declaratory statements of the International Classification of Functioning – version for Children and Youth (ICF-CY), to be soon released by the World Health Organisation. The study contains a detailed discussion of each selected Critical Factor with references and a final Checklist of Critical Factors. Of course, factors are strictly interrelated among them: thus, any choice made at one level has consequences on the others. A conceptual map helps the reader in visualizing at least the most important relationships. Making successful robot mediated education and rehabilitation activities involving children with disabilities will mostly depend on such choices and decisions. http://www.uni-service.it/index.php?page=shop.browse&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=108
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- S. Besio, "Meeting occasions for learning. Accessibility of play and toys for the development of any child, of all children, Special session of the Biennial National Congress Handimatica, 30/11/2006 - 02/12/2006, Bologna, Italy
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- Presentation of IROMEC and related topics during tutorial on "Autism and Affective-Social Computing" (organised by Rana el Kaliouby, Rosalind W. Picard, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn) as part of the Second International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII 2007), September 12-14, 2007, Lisbon, Portugal
- Presentation of IROMEC and related topics by B. Robbins, GJ Gelderblom and G. Kronreif in course of workshop "Robotic Helpers: User Interaction, Interfaces and Companions in Assistive and Therapy Robotics", 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 12-15 March 2008, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Invited talk by Besio S., Caprino F., Laudanna E., Marti P. "IROMEC: a robot for play activities of disable children" (IROMEC; un robot per il gioco del bambino disabile) at seminar "Educational robotics" (Robotica educativa), organised by CKBG (Collaborative Knowledge Building Group) and by the Department of Systematic and Informatics of the University "La Sapienza", Rome, September, the 30th, 2008
- Several IROMEC presentations by different partners at "Handimatica" (National Exhibition-Convention on advanced technologies, information technology and electronic communications to foster the integration of disabled persons), Bologna, (Italy) 27-29 November 2008
- Presentation of IROMEC project within an invited talk at the 3rd International Symposium on "Autism Along Lifespan – New Treatment Horizons", symposium at The Institute for Child Development, Shiba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel, 27-28 February 2008
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- IROMEC and related topics at keynote presentation "Social and Health Care Robotics", Parliamentary Reception on Robotics entitled "Intelligent Robots in Science and Society", 22 April, 2008, Members' Dining Room, House of Commons, London, 22 April 2008
- Invited presentation "Therapy: Robotized cognitive, mental and social therapy systems", Workshop "Future Robotics for Healthcare", Road map on „Robotics for Healthcare“ (R4H), 23-24 April 2008, Brussels, Belgium
- Invited talk about IROMEC and related topics, 4° Convegno "Tecnlogie per l’autonomia dei bambini diversamente abili", Città della Scienza di Napoli, 20/06/2008
- "Profiling robot-mediated play for children with disabilities through ICF-CY: The example of the European project IROMEC", presentation by AOSTA at ICCHP’2008, Linz, Austria, 9-11 July 2008
- Presentation: "IROMEC: un robot per il gioco del bambino disabile", National Conference ROBOTICA EDUCATIVA, 30 September 2008
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- Besio, S., Caprino, F., Laudanna, E. (2009). Robots helping children with motor disabilities to reach their learning potential through play: the IROMEC Project experience. II Conference Education For All, Warsaw, Poland, 22-25 September.
- Besio, S., Potenza, M.F., Kronreif, G. (2009). Developing the IROMEC robot for play: results from the first experimental trials. X AAATE Conference, Firenze, Italy August 31 –September 2. In: Emiliani, P.L., Burzagli, L., Como, A., Gabbanini, F., Salminen, A.L. (Eds) Adaptive Technology from adapted equipement to inclusive environments, Amsterdam, Olanda: IOS Press, 159-164.
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- Dautenhahn, K., Robins, B, (2007). Learning and Interaction in Children with Autism. VI IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning, London, United Kingdom, July 11-13.
- El Kaliouby, R., Picard, R.W., Robins, B., Dautenhahn, K. (2007). Autism and Affective-Social Computing. II International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII 2007), Lisbon, Portougal, September 12-14.
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- Robins, B., Gelderblom, G.J., Kronreif, G. (2008). Robotic Helpers: User Interaction, Interfaces and Companions in Assistive and Therapy Robotics. III ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March, 12-15.