Startup Launches First-Ever At Home Robot To Tutor Children With Autism

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a unique set of challenges to all of us. While some faced job loss and illness, others grappled with working from home and supervising online schooling. Many parents, especially those with students who have special needs, have been struggling with this new expectation and finding a balance.

LuxAI is a tech startup focused on creating robotic solutions for education, health care, and entertainment. They are a branch of the University of Luxembourg and they specialize in socially assistive robotics. LuxAI has had a few years of success with an assistive robot that helps children with autism. However, when COVID-19 resulted in lockdowns and quarantines, they started on a solution for parents at home.

Photo: YouTube/Lux AI

The QTrobot for Home is, “an engaging social robot playmate that helps children with autism to learn and practice new social, emotional, and cognitive skills.” Parents now need to take on more responsibilities regarding their child’s education at home, and the QTrobot is designed with children in mind.

One couple, Jay and Catherine, have been using their QTrobot for more than a year now, and say it has been a tremendous help with their six-year-old boy who has autism. “When we first decided to get an educational robot, we were unsure what to expect, but now we are thrilled we decided to get QT,” they wrote in a blog post for LuxAI. “We are able to help our son all year round. Our son has acquired new knowledge and has developed new skills. It was QT who showed him how to wave hi, which we could not get him to do before then.”

Photo: YouTube/Lux AI

The QTrobot is designed with a soft spoken voice and kind, expressive face. Through meaningful play-based activities, QT is able to teach children a wide array of skills, focusing on social and emotional wellbeing as well as language and cognitive development. Although QT can be used to assist with the education of any child, it is an especially helpful tool for parents with children who have special needs.

“QTrobot is non-judgemental and offers a predictable environment for children to practice and gain confidence with social and communication skills before applying them in real world interactions,” said Dr. Aida Nazari, Head of Human-AI Interaction at LuxAI. “The robot creates a triangular interaction with the parents and their child and encourages the children to practice the skills with their parents. This opens the first door toward building skills that can be generalized to real world interactions.”

Photo: YouTube/Lux AI

Along with the at home robot, which can be purchased at full or paid off through monthly payments, parents receive an online support portal where they can watch lessons on effectively using the QTrobot to assist their child’s education, an analytics dashboard where they can check their child’s progress, and monthly support meetings.

Photo: YouTube/Lux AI

“We are delighted to see we can help parents to continue their children’s education during the COVID-19 closure of schools,” said Dr. Pouyan Ziafati, CEO of the startup. “Following our successful work in research and education, we have gone to great lengths to minimize costs and make this advanced robot as affordable as possible.”

If you’d like to help provide educational tools and toys to other kids who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, consider donating here. To see more about how the QTrobot works, check out the video below!

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