Auti Interactive Toy For Autistic Children

Auti is a special interactive robotic toy used to help teach positive behaviors to autistic children while stimulating their imagination. Auti was designed by Helen Andreae at Victoria University, and is currently in the prototype stage.


(Auti interactive toy at play)

"'Auti' develops speaking, touching, and collaborating skills. It shuts down in response to any negative behaviour such as hitting or screaming, but quickly responds to the slightest positive interaction such as speaking gently or stroking. Each sensor can be adjusted to respond appropriately to a child's individual characteristics.

"Autistic children find it difficult to play," says designer Helen Andreae, who developed Auti through an industrial design paper at Victoria University in the final year of her Honours degree last year under the supervision of lecturers Tim Miller and Edgar Rodríguez Ramírez.

"They have great difficulty using their imagination to develop even the simplest fictional scenarios and have even further difficulties playing with other children because they often don't understand how they should control their voice and body. This can scare other children away when they are trying to make friends."


(Auti demonstration video)

Fans of sf writer Anne McCaffrey recall Purza the Pukha from her 1990 novel The Rowan, which are described in the novel as "specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices":

Pukhas, deriving their name from the imaginary companions discovered by needful children, had become widely used in pediatrics. They could be programmed for a variety of uses...

...thought had been given to its programming: its long soft hair was composed of receptors, monitoring the child's physical and psychic health.

From University of Wellington via MedGadget.

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