Robot Milo brings efforts to ease autism, teach STEM

March 19, 2019 03:37 PM

ALBANY – He already had more access than most lobbyists get – Milo stood right on an Assemblyman's desk and demanded attention.

"You're seeing the facial expression so he animates," explains Dr. Gregory Firn, the Chief Operating Officer of Robo-Kind out of Dallas, TX. "He's able to express that. And because he's not a human, humanoid enough -- but not human, he's safe to look at."

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Milo met with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), who has a son with autism. Robo-Kind is a company that is behind Robots-4-Autism and Robots-4-STEM. It has visual supports, verbal and visual response and it reinforces targeted behavior.

"Early intervention," said Santabarbara, "but it's also for teenagers and adults to be able to learn life skills, life lessons and things that are taught not necessarily in the classroom all the time, those are lessons that are built into that new technology."

Partnering a humanoid robot with a social and emotional curriculum provides a tool for evidence-based practices to "unpack" social skills for students with autism.

"He doesn't create, if you will, some of that anxiety and that frustration or better said, he doesn't over stimulate because he's very predictable, he's very consistent, he's very dependable," said Firn. "So you know when he smiles, he smiles the same way every time."


WNYT Staff

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