A robot called Nao helps children with autism develop their social skills, and with very positive results. A study was conducted to test whether the combination of treatment and use of robots could benefit children with autism, and the results showed that children engaged in robots displayed greater progress in their social skills.
The robot can talk, walk and dance, and also helps autistic children do not get away from eye contact, something they experience difficulty, and more easily recognize the feelings of others based on facial expressions. Coexistence with people may be a very intense and difficult experience for a young child with autism, so the presence of the robot (and its more limited, controlled movements) has proven to be particularly therapeutic.
Obviously larger-scale studies are needed to develop Nao’s Artificial Intelligence to be a better ally to the individual needs of each child. The news, however, is very positive and we hope in a few years that autistic children have this important ally next to them.