Social robots for children: Practice in communication-care

Hideki Kozima, Cocoro Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes our research project that explores possible use of interactive robots in communication-care for children, especially those with special needs. For this purpose, we built Keepon, which is a small creature-like robot, and observed how autistic and typically-developing children (2-4 years old) interacted with it. Keepon was placed in their playrooms just as one of their toys, and tele-controlled by a human operator in a remote room; the children naturally and spontaneously showed various communicative actions to Keepon. From the longitudinal observations for more than two years (over 100 sessions of 3 hours) in a remedial institute and a preschool, we found that Keepon's comprehensive appearance and predictable responses gave the children a playful and relaxed mood, in which they spontaneously engaged in dyadic interaction with Keepon, and also that the typically-developing children and some of the autistic children extended the interaction into triadic one, where Keepon worked as the pivot of interpersonal play with their caregivers. Each child showed a different style and a different unfolding of interaction over time, which tell us a "story" of his or her personality and developmental profile, which is informative for the caregiver and the nursing staff to understand the child better, and is now being utilized for improving the remedial and educational services.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event9th IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Motion Control, 2006 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 2006 Mar 272006 Mar 29


Conference9th IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Motion Control, 2006


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