Growing up with autism in an environment that doesn't understand the affliction can be really challenging, which is why the designers at Vanderbilt University created the NAO robot.
Research into sufferers of autism have shown that children with the affliction have difficulty focusing and interacting with human educators in mixed environments. On the other hand, children with autism would be focused on inanimate objects and robotics for much longer than someone without autism. With that in mind, the NAO robot is packed with cameras, sensors and a powerful CPU to encourage social development. Unlike a human being that may get impatient or distracted by the other children's needs, the NAO robot will help teach social interaction skills without any of those issues. The NAO robot also gets around the issue of long waiting lists for specialized education and learning environments for the autistic.
The idea of the NAO robot, which gives off verbal cues to attract attention of autistic children is beautiful in its combination of complexity and simplicity.