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

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.

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