Roboable is a project dedicated to weak users with the aim of creating a new “edutainment” tool able to convey therapeutic and rehabilitative contents.
The aim is to make the technology accessible to everyone in order to create a playful and educational tool with the ability to acquire therapeutic contents.
The project is inspired by the expressive potential of the mask, a tool used by psychotherapy in order to bring out emotions and feelings.
Through identification with the device the user has the opportunity to express his emotions, motivated to maintain a high level of concentration and collaboration. In addition, visual, auditory and movement stimulations will help users to express themselves using various tools such as transference and through identification with the device the child will project their emotions.
Roboable is first of all a system, an open-source and source-in-progress working platform that can be accessed to create and share content.
The kit includes a basic unit that can be interfaced with infinite sensorized covers and is able to interact with computers, smartphones and tablets capable of playing interactive game scenarios.
Roboable is a project aimed at weak users, specifically children with autism spectrum disorders or with mild to severe cognitive/motor disabilities.
Among the so-called developmental disorders, autism is perhaps the least known, however, it is less rare than we think. The most recent data indicate an incidence of 1:100 and the ratio of females to males is 1:4 (Moldin and Rubinstein, 2006). Symptoms of autism tend to be permanent, but can vary with significant improvements in many areas of development if early and appropriate educational intervention is implemented.
There are two areas most affected:
- social communication skills
- interaction with others
Autism manifests itself in a very heterogeneous way and two children with similar autistic traits are rarely found. There is also talk of “autistic spectrum disorders” and “autistic syndromes” as the disorder can be considered a continuum of conditions that have many characteristics in common and whose boundaries are blurred.
Roboable wants to break the complexity barrier of many devices and is designed to perform a specific function. The project aims to provide hospital staff, family members, teachers and volunteers with an ‘elastic’ tool that adapts to the specific needs of users. It also allows to interact with those who live in situations of extreme cognitive or motor limitation.
The activities tested have shown that the following objectives can be pursued:
- Social: Understanding of the basic rules for participating in social exchanges and activities based on cooperation. Development of the ability to interpret the social behaviour of others. Understanding of respecting the timing and modalities of social interactions.
Communicative-linguistic: In this area the priority was to teach the child to use communication systems that allow him/her to express his/her own desires and emotional states and to understand those of others even beyond the literal content.
- Cognitive: Development of the ability to manage different tasks or information at the same time (multi-tasking) to find effective solutions to problem situations.