NAO is part of a system Vanderbilt University is using to help autistic youngsters learn basic social skills.

NAO is a humanoid robot being used to help autistic children learn how to coordinate their attention with people and objects. This basic social skill is called ‘joint attention,’ and children with autism have trouble mastering it.

The robot is part of a system of cameras, sensors, and computers developed by an interdisciplinary team of mechanical engineers and autism experts at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. They report that autistic children paid more attention to the robot than a human therapist in exercises used to develop joint attention.

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