A six hour interactive session at the Research and Learning Center, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History was held on the 11th of January, 2014. The Zeno robot engaged museum visitors in an educational experience. Zeno is a 2-feet tall child like humanoid robot that assists in research geared towards early detection and treatment of childhood Autism. A group of students from Next Generation Systems Lab- Isura Ranatunga, Corina Bogdan, Sumit Kumar Das, and Namrata Balakrishnan interacted with the museum guests and demonstrated Zeno.
Visitors were excited and willing to take part in the demonstration. It involved a participant standing in front of an Xbox Kinect making arm movements which were imitated by Zeno.
Kids and parents alike watched Zeno mimicking their arm movements with a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm. Zeno’s ability to generate realistic smile, frown, and blink behavior drew the crowd to the setup and they were excited to take pictures with it.
Visitors were curious to know about the research and its impact in the diagnosis of autism. They displayed interest in a home based study of human-robot interaction. They were even willing to participate in future opportunities to interact with Zeno and other advanced robots at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. All in all, the crowd was fascinated and responded positively.
Namrata Balakrishnan and Sumit Kumar Das
Photos courtesy of Deborah Cockerham
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