Fuzzy Robot Teaches Social Skills To Autistic Children

Fuzzy Robot Teaches Social Skills To Autistic Children

A new robot practices everyday activities and emotions with challenged children through play.

Karen Summerson
  • 26 september 2012

While most autistic children have trouble communicating with others and reading social cues, they interact beautifully with toys and electronics, notably iPads and robotic animals. To combine these technologies, a Pennsylvania-based start-up called Interbots has created a prototype stuffed-animal robot named Popchilla and an accompanying iPad app.

Far from the dated abilities of a Furby, Popchilla interacts with children kinetically and colorfully, by moving its bunny-like ears and lion-esque tail. It speaks and reacts by changing its facial expressions and eye color. For example, when the toy is angry, its ears go down and its eyes turn red.

What makes this robot different and more effective is, first, that it is not controlled by internal animatronics. The toy interacts and speaks to a child through an outside controller system, which is powered by a parent or adult. In addition, Popchilla also has its own game, encouraging such daily activities as brushing one’s teeth and getting ready in the morning and rewards a child’s successes. Since the iPad games and controller system can be updated with new content and constant improvements, the robot, itself, doesn’t become obsolete; rather, it grows with a child, whose responses, interactions and game play are recorded digitally for parents to view.

While the toy is not yet on the market (producers hope to sell it for $500), previews of its game, Popchilla’s World, are online. To see how the game works, check out the video below:

Popchilla’s World

Images via: BloxImages, Popchilla’s World



Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Innovation Today

After The Initial Success Of AR Gaming, What Does The Future Hold?

With Pokemon GO earning up to $10m a day, R&D departments are busy searching for the next phase

Arts & Culture Today

The Next Great Art Movement Will Come At The Swipe Of A Finger

An improved app, optimized digital display and monthly art discovery service round out Electric Objects' renewed commitment to democratizing the art world


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Today

A TV Streaming Service Is Designed Just For Kids

Toca TV is a new platform offering thousands of original and curated children's videos for a monthly subscription fee

Travel Today

Bus Stop Transformed Into A Fitness Station For Commuters

Sports drink company Lucozade live-streamed an athletic trainer working out at a stop in Manchester to encourage travelers to get moving

Technology Today

Shiseido And Microsoft Have Created A Makeup Filter For Women Who Telecommute

The Japanese cosmetic company built an augmented reality app that works alongside Skype for Business

Mobile Today

Samsung Is Using AR To Help Beachgoers Stay Safe

Pocket Patrol utilizes a phone's camera to promote beach safety and educate people about hidden hazards

Design & Architecture Today

500 Plastic Chairs Used To Create A Recyclable Pavilion

Design agency CODA built a grandoise art piece from simple lawn furniture


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs Today

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Retail Today

Exchange Your Old Razors For New Ones At This Bartershop

The subscription-based shaving company lets customers trade their unwanted razors for Harry's brand steel at a temporary New York pop-up

Food Today

A Brewer Has Created The Most Expensive Chips To Snack On

St. Eriks Brewery created crisps made from rare mushrooms to go with its artisan beer, donating all proceeds to charity

Op-Ed Today

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

Travel Today

Melbourne Hotel Lets Guests Stay In Their Own Chrome Airstream Trailers

Notel is a luxury rooftop with six guest rooms made from vintage 1970s mobile homes

Sustainability Today

Swedish Citizens Get A Tax Break For Repairing Old Goods

A sustainability initiative encourages people to fix, rather than replace, broken objects

Fitness & Sport Today

How Precision Data Can Make Anyone A Better Performer

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytic tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Home Today

You Can Now Buy Furniture From A Daytime TV Show

Home furnishing online retailer Wayfair is partnering with Lifetime to create a shoppable life improvement television program

No search results found.