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SPL talk May 2013


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Title Robot-Mediated Pedagogical Rehabilitation
Speaker Dr. Maya Dimitrova
Institution Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
Date 2013/05/07
Time 11h00-12h00
Location Univ Aveiro - IT amphitheatre
Country Aveiro, Portugal

Robot-Mediated Pedagogical Rehabilitation

Maya Dimitrova

Institute of Systems Engineering and Robotics

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria


Designing robots to support the pedagogical rehabilitation of people with special educational needs is a new trend in robotics. Multi-agent systems designed to teach social skills to autistic children are being adopted in schools. The talk presents one such system, designed to generate game scenarios for training collaborative skills. AdMoVeo robots implemented 3 types of behavior scenarios – imitate, enhance and counteract – in a collaborative game of teaching robots perform movements shown by hand gestures. Performance of autistic children was compared with two age groups of typically developing children – under and above the age of 7. The autistic children faster understood the multi-agent system and played more focused with the robots (communicate less). They showed positive attitude to the imitation game and disregarded the differences between counteract and imitate behaviors of the robots, confirming a limited resource hypothesis. The multi-agent system of AdMoVeo robots was very-well accepted by the children in a game scenario. Other example of robots assisting the pedagogical rehabilitation is Paro seal, recently used for coping with stress after the Fukushima disaster. New trends in humanoid robotics are also being discussed, outlining possible new applications of robots in the rehabilitation of anxiety and neurosis.

Short Bio-notes:

Dr. Maya Dimitrova is currently Associate Professor at the Institute of Systems Engineering and Robotics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She received her MSc in Psychology from the St. Petersburg University, Russia, in 1885 and her MSc in Psychology (by research) from Warwick University, UK, in 1995. In 2002 she received her PhD in “Application of Principles and Methods of Cybernetics in Different Areas of Science” from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her research interests are in human-machine systems, human-computer interface, human-robot interaction, information retrieval, web agent design, cognitive modeling and robotic systems for pedagogical rehabilitation. She is member of the EUCog III - European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics.