Shybot : Friend-Stranger Interaction for Children Living with Autism

Chia-Hsun Jackie Lee, Rob Morris, Matthew Goodwin, Rosalind Picard


This paper presents Shybot, a personal mobile robot designed to both embody and elicit reflection on shyness behaviors. Shybot is being designed to detect human presence and familiarity from face detection and proximity sensing in order to categorize people as friends or strangers to interact with. Shybot also can reflect elements of the anxious state of its human companion through LEDs and a spinning propeller. We designed this simple social interaction to open up a new direction for intervention for children living with autism. We hope that from minimal social interaction, a child with autism or social anxiety disorders could reflect on and more deeply attain understanding about personal shyness behaviors, as a first step toward helping make progress in developing greater capacity for complex social interaction. Keywords Robotics, uncanny effect, friend-like interaction, autism

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