This pint-sized piece of machinery is a special project being worked on by the scientists at Vanderbilt University.
Fast Company’s Pranav Dixit writes that the robot harness a combination of cameras and the Microsoft Kinect sensor to help autistic children develop social skills.
This is how it works. Russell will engage the child asking them to play. Once they start moving around, the Kinect and camera combination will track their movements and record the results to send back to the scientists.
Children with autism have issues copying others which can affect their learning.Nilanjan Sarkar, one of the engineers leading this initiative, told Red Orbit’s Bryan P. Carpender that they tend to understand the physical world much better than the social world.
This is where Russell comes into play since the robot won’t overstimulate children and help them process social cues to enhance their learning experience.
Watch Russell in action below on an episode of “Science Nation”.