Head design and optimization of an emotionally interactive robot for the treatment of autism

Feng Wu, Shengzhao Lin, Xiangfei Cao, Huixin Zhong, Jiaming Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Emotionally interactive robots with facial expressions have various applications, such as research, education, companion, entertainment, and so on. Apart from this, robots with facial expressions demonstrate unique therapeutic effects via eye contact, facial expression recognition and presentation, especially in the early intervention for autistic children. The present study focuses on the head design of a humanoid robot with facial expressions and demonstrates strong attraction of the emotional robotic head presented in the 20th China Hi-Tech Fair. Feedback of the general public's acceptance of the robotic head during the High-tech Fair, was combined with the special needs in treatment of autism, to optimize the design of a second generation of the robotic head. As a result, the mechanical structures of the key components of the head, including the shell of the head, the eyes, the neck, the tongue, achieved better performance, and fewer motors were used to generate more and reliable facial expressions. TPE material which is environmentally friendly and bio-compatible was used in making a more human-like skin covering the robotic head. The facial expressions of the big six basic emotions presented by the robotic head has been tested by the Face++ software, and the recognition accuracy of some facial expressions exceeded 96%. The contributions of the present study are threefold, first of all, it shows that limited number of motors can generate reliable facial expressions of the basic emotions; second, TPE material is suitable for making human-like skin covering the robotic head; third, it shows the potential of our robotic head to be a practical and clinical rehabilitation platform of training autistic patients to recognize and imitate facial expressions of emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2019 4th International Conference on Automation, Control and Robotics Engineering, CACRE 2019
EditorsFumin Zhang
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450371865
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2019
Event4th International Conference on Automation, Control and Robotics Engineering, CACRE 2019 - Shenzhen, China
Duration: 19 Jul 201921 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Conference

Conference4th International Conference on Automation, Control and Robotics Engineering, CACRE 2019
CountryChina
CityShenzhen
Period19/07/1921/07/19

Keywords

  • Emotionally interactive robots
  • Head design of robots
  • Robots with facial expressions
  • Social robots
  • Treatment of autism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

Cite this

Wu, F., Lin, S., Cao, X., Zhong, H., & Zhang, J. (2019). Head design and optimization of an emotionally interactive robot for the treatment of autism. In F. Zhang (Ed.), Proceedings - 2019 4th International Conference on Automation, Control and Robotics Engineering, CACRE 2019 [75] (ACM International Conference Proceeding Series). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3351917.3351992