Interbots Inc., a leading robotics company linked with the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center, has paired with Autism Center for Pittsburgh to launch an innovative program called “Character Therapy”.
Based on the belief that at times children with autism find it easy to interact with an inert object, the company has developed a robot called “Popchilla” and a custom designed ipad application to control the movements of the robot. This enables children with significantly less verbal skills to communicate very easily and their ability can be assessed quickly.
In the initial phase of the program, a professional therapist will use the interbot robot Popchilla and an ipad application which will guide the therapist to train the children. After several sessions of the required training, the children will be allowed to control the robot to discern emotions. Working on Popchilla does not require any technical expertise and production of the ipad application is still in progress.
This program funded by Spark is an enterprise of the Sprout Foundation, based in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It is believed that, this collaborative program will leverage the skills of the robot in communicating with Autistic children, thereby reducing behavioral obstructions.
Seema Patel, CEO and co-founder of Interbots and Cindy Waeltermann, Founder and Director of the Autism Centers of Pittsburgh represented their respective companies in this program.