Playing with Toys: Towards Autonomous Robot Manipulation for Therapeutic Play.
Trevor, Alexander J. B.
Park, Hae Won
Howard, Ayanna M.
Kemp, Charles C.
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When young children play, they often manipulate toys that have been specifically designed to accommodate and stimulate their perceptual-motor skills. Robotic playmates capable of physically manipulating toys have the potential to engage children in therapeutic play and augment the beneficial interactions provided by overtaxed care givers and costly therapists. To date, assistive robots for children have almost exclusively focused on social interactions and teleoperative control. Within this paper we present progress towards the creation of robots that can engage children in manipulative play. First, we present results from a survey of popular toys for children under the age of 2 which indicates that these toys share simplified appearance properties and are designed to support a relatively small set of coarse manipulation behaviors. We then present a robotic control system that autonomously manipulates several toys by taking advantage of this consistent structure. Finally, we show results from an integrated robotic system that imitates visually observed toy playing activities and is suggestive of opportunities for robots that play with toys.
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