08 Dec A robot to revolutionize autism therapy in schools
by R. Danes
Milo is a twofoot tall robot that helps kids with autism overcome the social handicaps that characterize the disorder. Developed by Dallas, Texas based Robokind, the facially expressive, socially responsive robot breaks a lot of molds in children’s autism therapy.
Chief Technology officer and cofounder of Robokind, Richard Margolin, recently spoke about the challenges of training autistic children in traditional therapy at the Dallas New Tech event. Not only are human therapists quite expensive, regularly charging $100 an hour, they also tend to get very little social interaction from autistic children within a session. In an hour long session, he explained a therapist typically is able to interact socially with the child for only one and a half minutes of the allotted time. Kids working one on one with Milo are actually interacting with the
robot for 53 minutes per hour.
Margolin said that feedback from schools and parents has thus far been tremendous. “We’ve had kids that have been in therapy for a decade and still were basically nonverbal, never made eye contact, and didn’t speak to anyone go home and say, “Hi,” to their parents for the first time after two sessions with the robot.”