Interacting with social robots has been reported as potentially beneficial for children with social communication difficulties, with one of the promising applications being the practising of social skills, such as joint attention. We present the analysis of attention skills in children with cognitive impairments over a series of child–robot interaction sessions. Here, an interaction consists of five different modules. The first module introduces the child to the robot. The next three modules are the task modules during which children are expected to improve their attention skills during the completion of a series of social tasks. The final module is a free style interaction, where the duration of interaction between the child and robot was used as a proxy to indicate the attention of the child towards a robot. Our analysis showed that the majority of the children reduced their task completion time in modules two to four, indicating an improvement in attention. Moreover, most of the children showed positive engagement towards the robot and spent an average of 120 s during the free style interaction in module five. The positive response suggests that the robot, via child–robot interaction could be a useful and engaging tool to improve attention skills of the children with cognitive impairment.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
https://text-to-speech-demo.ng.bluemix.net/, (accessed on July to August 2018).
Adams A, Robinson P (2011) An android head for social-emotional intervention for children with autism spectrum conditions. In: D’Mello S, Graesser A, Schuller B, Martin JC (eds) Affective computing and intelligent interaction. Springer, Berlin, pp 183–190
Bee N, André E, Tober S (2009) Breaking the ice in human-agent communication: eye-gaze based initiation of contact with an embodied conversational agent. In: International workshop on intelligent virtual agents. Springer, pp 229–242
Belpaeme T, Baxter P, Read R, Wood R, Cuayáhuitl H, Kiefer B, Racioppa S, Kruijff-Korbayová I, Athanasopoulos G, Enescu V et al (2013) Multimodal child–robot interaction: building social bonds. J Hum Robot Interact 1(2):33–53
Boccanfuso L, O’Kane JM (2011) Charlie: an adaptive robot design with hand and face tracking for use in autism therapy. Int J Soc Robot 3(4):337–347
Broekens J, Heerink M, Rosendal H (2009) Assistive social robots in elderly care: a review. Gerontechnology 8(2):94–103
Costa S, Lehmann H, Dautenhahn K, Robins B, Soares F (2015) Using a humanoid robot to elicit body awareness and appropriate physical interaction in children with autism. Int J Soc Robot 7(2):265–278
Dautenhahn K (1999) Robots as social actors: Aurora and the case of autism. In: Proceedings of CT99, the third international cognitive technology conference, August, San Francisco, vol 359, p 374
Dautenhahn K (2007) Methodology & themes of human–robot interaction: a growing research field. Int J Adv Robot Syst 4(1):15
Diehl JJ, Schmitt LM, Villano M, Crowell CR (2012) The clinical use of robots for individuals with autism spectrum disorders: a critical review. Res Autism Spectr Disord 6(1):249–262
Edwards C, Edwards A, Spence PR, Lin X (2018) I, teacher: using artificial intelligence (AI) and social robots in communication and instruction. Commun Educ 67(4):473–480
Erden MS (2013) Emotional postures for the humanoid–robot Nao. Int J Soc Robot 5(4):441–456
Feil-Seifer D, Matarić MJ (2009) Toward socially assistive robotics for augmenting interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. In: Khatib O, Kumar V, Pappas GJ (eds) Experimental robotics. Springer, Berlin, pp 201–210
Figueroa F, Parker D, Fritsch B, Oussedik S (2018) New and evolving technologies for knee arthroplasty—computer navigation and robotics: state of the art. J ISAKOS Joint Disord Orthop Sports Med 3(1):46–54
Frank Lopresti E, Mihailidis A, Kirsch N (2004) Assistive technology for cognitive rehabilitation: state of the art. Neuropsychol Rehabil 14(1–2):5–39
Grespan L, Fiorini P, Colucci G (2019) Looking ahead: the future of robotic surgery. In: Siciliano B, Khatib O (eds) The route to patient safety in robotic surgery, vol 126. Springer, Cham, pp 157–162
Huang CM, Thomaz AL (2010) Joint attention in human–robot interaction. In: AAAI fall symposium: dialog with robots
Institution BS (2016) Bs 8611:2016. Robots and robotic devices. Guide to the ethical design and application of robots and robotic systems
Ismail LI, Shamsudin S, Yussof H, Hanapiah FA, Zahari NI (2012) Estimation of concentration by eye contact measurement in robot-based intervention program with autistic children. Procedia Eng 41:1548–1552
Ismail LI, Verhoeven T, Dambre J, Wyffels F (2018) Leveraging robotics research for children with autism: a review. Int J Soc Robot. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-018-0508-1
Jain R, Jain N, Aggarwal A, Hemanth DJ (2019) Convolutional neural network based Alzheimer’s disease classification from magnetic resonance brain images. Cogn Syst Res. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2018.12.015
Krebs HI, Ladenheim B, Hippolyte C, Monterroso L, Mast J (2009) Robot-assisted task-specific training in cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol 51:140–145
Llorente AM, Voigt RG, Williams J, Frailey JK, Satz P, D’Elia LF (2009) Children’s color trails test 1 & 2: test–retest reliability and factorial validity. Clin Neuropsychol 23(4):645–660
Manner MD (2015) Using small humanoid robots to detect autism in toddlers. In: Proceedings of the 24th international conference on artificial intelligence. AAAI Press, pp 4383–4384
Peng YH, Lin CW, Mayer NM, Wang ML (2014) Using a humanoid robot for music therapy with autistic children. In: Automatic control conference (CACS), 2014 CACS international. IEEE, pp 156–160
Peters BS, Armijo PR, Krause C, Choudhury SA, Oleynikov D (2018) Review of emerging surgical robotic technology. Surg Endosc 32:1636–1655
Pioggia G, Sica M, Ferro M, Igliozzi R, Muratori F, Ahluwalia A, De Rossi D (2007) Human–robot interaction in autism: face, an android-based social therapy. In: The 16th IEEE international symposium on robot and human interactive communication, 2007. RO-MAN 2007. IEEE, pp 605–612
Pour AG, Taheri A, Alemi M, Meghdari A (2018) Human–robot facial expression reciprocal interaction platform: case studies on children with autism. Int J Soc Robot 10(2):179–198
Puyjarinet F, Bégel V, Lopez R, Dellacherie D, Dalla Bella S (2017) Children and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder cannot move to the beat. Sci Rep 7(1):11550
Reddy S, Fox J, Purohit MP (2019) Artificial intelligence-enabled healthcare delivery. J R Soc Med 112(1):22–28
Riek LD (2012) Wizard of Oz studies in HRI: a systematic review and new reporting guidelines. J Hum Robot Interact 1(1):119–136
Seidman LJ, Biederman J, Faraone SV, Weber W, Ouellette C (1997) Toward defining a neuropsychology of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder: performance of children and adolescents from a large clinically referred sample. J Consult Clin Psychol 65(1):150
Tanaka F, Isshiki K, Takahashi F, Uekusa M, Sei R, Hayashi K (2015) Pepper learns together with children: development of an educational application. In: 2015 IEEE-RAS 15th international conference on humanoid robots (humanoids). IEEE, pp 270–275
Tapus A, Peca A, Aly A et al (2012) Children with autism social engagement in interaction with nao, an imitative robot: a series of single case experiments. Interact Stud 13(3):315–347
Thevenot J, López MB, Hadid A (2018) A survey on computer vision for assistive medical diagnosis from faces. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform 22(5):1497–1511
Thill S, Pop CA, Belpaeme T, Ziemke T, Vanderborght B (2012) Robot-assisted therapy for autism spectrum disorders with (partially) autonomous control: challenges and outlook. Paladyn 3(4):209–217
Vanderborght B, Simut R, Saldien J, Pop C, Rusu AS, Pintea S, Lefeber D, David DO (2012) Using the social robot probo as a social story telling agent for children with ASD. Interact Stud 13(3):348–372
Vandevelde C, Wyffels F, Vanderborght B, Saldien J (2017) An open-source hardware platform to encourage innovation. IEEE Robot Autom Mag 1070(9932/17):2
Wada K, Shibata T, Saito T, Tanie K (2004) Effects of robot-assisted activity for elderly people and nurses at a day service center. Proc IEEE 92(11):1780–1788
Wainer J, Dautenhahn K, Robins B, Amirabdollahian F (2014) A pilot study with a novel setup for collaborative play of the humanoid robot KASPAR with children with autism. Int J Soc Robot 6(1):45–65
Warren ZE, Zheng Z, Swanson AR, Bekele E, Zhang L, Crittendon JA, Weitlauf AF, Sarkar N (2015) Can robotic interaction improve joint attention skills? J Autism Dev Disord 45(11):3726–3734
We would like to thank Sakinah Idris for her clinical psychology advice and Lindsay J.G. McCutcheon for proofreading this article.
Luthffi Idzhar Ismail received Postgraduate Education Funds from Majlis Amanah Rakyat, MARA (MARA REF: 330407445608) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM REF: UPM/TAM058). This work was co-funded by the EU FP7 DREAM project (Grant Agreement FP7-ICT-611391) and the Niche Research Grant Scheme (NRGS):600-RMI/NRGS 5/3 (11/2013).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical approval was granted from the Research Ethics Committee (REC), of Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia (REC reference number: 600-IRMI (5/1/6)) prior to research commencement. Moreover, participant’s official consent to participate in this study were granted from all parents or guardians prior to start the experiment.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Ismail, L.I., Hanapiah, F.A., Belpaeme, T. et al. Analysis of Attention in Child–Robot Interaction Among Children Diagnosed with Cognitive Impairment. Int J of Soc Robotics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-020-00628-x
- Child–robot interaction
- Children with cognitive impairment