Robot Communication Avatar In a social communication application the triad includes the Huggable™, a remote family member, and the child. For instance, the family member may be a parent who is away on a business trip, or a grandparent who lives far from the child. The Huggable™ enables a richer, multi-modal interaction -- supporting communication and play through touch, shared space, vision and speech. The remote family member interacts with the child through the Huggable™ -- controlling the semi-autonomous robot via a website and seeing and hearing the child through the eyes and ears of the Huggable™.
This video highlights the role of MSRS in our implementation of the robot communication avatar application.
Early Education Companion In a distance education application, this triad includes the Huggable™, the student, and the teacher. Here the Huggable™ serves as a semi-autonomous robotic communication avatar that a remotely located teacher controls via the internet to interact with a student in an educational activity. The teacher can see the child through the Huggable's™ cameras, hear the child through the microphones, talk to the child through the speaker, and gesture and express via animations the Huggable™ can perform. The Huggable™ can locally process how the child is touching it, picking it up, etc. and relay this information back to the educator.
Therapeutic Companion In a healthcare application, the interaction triad includes the Huggable™, a member of the hospital or nursing home staff, and the patient or resident. Here the fully autonomous Huggable™ interacts with the patient to provide therapeutic benefit of a companion animal, and can also communicate behavioral data about this interaction to the nursing staff to assist them in promoting improved well-being of the patient.
To serve as new type of robotic companion for therapeudic applications our design goals are:
- To be vicerally and emotionally pleasing to interact with, both with respect to how it feels to touch and how it responds to people. - To provide measurable health benefit to people, especially health benefits that arise from touch and social support. - To be a useful tool for the nursing staff or other care providers that augments existing animal assisted therapy programs (if present). - To be a computationally flexible platform that allows us to explore other health related applications for the Huggable technology (e.g., play therapy).