This Robot Can Help Kids with Special Needs Communicate

By: Ellen Smith - May 15, 2017
References: devpost & techcrunch
A team of sophomores from Rutgers University revealed their intuitive classroom robot at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in New York. The robot, Robota, is a social bot with the intention to assist in special education classrooms by helping children communicate, especially if they are nervous to approach a teacher.

Through the use of computer vision and sentiment analysis, Robota is able to identify facial indicators of grief, confusion, stress or anger. If Robota detects a student is displaying any of these emotions, she approaches them and asks if something is wrong. When a student confides in Robota, she can translate their words into a computerized text she is able to analyze. If a student is in extreme distress, or needs the immediate attention of an adult, the classroom robot will send a text summarizing the issue to the student's teacher, or parent.

The researchers behind this bot are hoping children with special needs will be more like to confide and communicate with Robota.