University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Abstract

This paper presents a contribution to the active field of robotics research to support the development of social skills and capabilities in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as Typically Developing children. We present preliminary results of a novel experiment where classical roles are reversed: children are here the teachers giving positive or negative reinforcement to the Kaspar robot to make it learn arbitrary associations between toys and locations where to tidy them. The goal is to help children change perspective, and understand that sometimes a learning agent needs several repetitions before correctly learning something. We developed a reinforcement learning algorithm enabling Kaspar to verbally convey its uncertainty along learning, so as to better inform the interacting child of the reasons behind successes and failures made by the robot. Overall, 16 children performed the experiment and managed to teach Kaspar all associations in 2 to 7 trials. Kaspar only made a few unexpected associations, mostly due to exploratory choices, and eventually reached minimal uncertainty. All children expressed enthusiasm in the experiment.

ID: 16001564