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An Undergraduate Service Learning Research Project using a Humanoid Robot to Enhance Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

CEED Technical Session: High-Impact Makerspaces, Transitioning from Co-op to School and Service Research

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27588

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

biography

Jennifer Leaf Eastern Washington University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4979-1435

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Jennifer Leaf is a student in the Mechanical Engineering department at Eastern Washington University. She previously received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Science in Computing and Software Systems from the University of Washington, and worked as a software engineer and program manager in private industry. She intends to pursue graduate studies in robotics.

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Arin Seth Preston Eastern Washington University

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Arin S. Preston is a mechanical engineering student at Eastern Washington University, specializing in robotics and automation. Prior to pursuing his degree, Arin spent 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an artillery fire direction controller, a counter-battery RADAR team leader, and a firing member of the USMC rifle team.

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Donald C. Richter P.E. Eastern Washington University

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DONALD C. RICHTER obtained his B. Sc. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and worked as an Engineer and Engineering Manger in industry for 20 years before teaching. His interests include project management, robotics /automation, Student Learning and Air Pollution Dispersion Modeling.

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Robert E. Gerlick Eastern Washington University

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Dr. Gerlick is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technology at Eastern Washington University. He teaches courses in the areas of Robotics, Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Fluids, CAD, and Capstone Design.

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Abstract

This service learning undergraduate research project focuses on the use of humanoid robots to increase the effectiveness of therapy of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Engineers often focus on industrial applications for robotics and automation. This project allows the engineering student to learn that the skills they are learning in industrial robotics can also be applied to societal problems in the community and provide ways to give back to the community. One in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with some level of autism, with the most common treatment being Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). While ABA is an evidence-based approach, the learning process is time consuming, and it is not uncommon for an objective to take months, if not years, for a child to master. Two important consequences of this are the financial costs and the closing “window of opportunity,” as therapy is often most effective in the younger, formative years. As an aid in improving ASD therapy, robots have been developed over the past decade, with noted potential for their use as “co-therapists.” However, two major barriers to wider adoption of robots in therapy are the intensive programming requirements of the robots and the limited “off-the-shelf” programs available to clinicians. This paper describes a pilot project with the aim of enabling therapists to use the advanced technology of robots by eliminating these barriers through (1) the adoption of an intuitive and adaptable programming platform (Nao humanoid robot) and (2) development of an initial template program for the area of early language-communication.

Leaf, J., & Preston, A. S., & Richter, D. C., & Gerlick, R. E. (2017, June), An Undergraduate Service Learning Research Project using a Humanoid Robot to Enhance Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27588

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