Head Impact Severity Measures for Small Social Robots Thrown During Meltdown in Autism
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Social robots have gained a lot of attention recently as they have been reported to be effective in supporting therapeutic services for children with autism. However, children with autism may exhibit a multitude of challenging behaviors that could be harmful to themselves and to others around them. Furthermore, social robots are meant to be companions and to elicit certain social behaviors. Hence, the presence of a social robot during the occurrence of challenging behaviors might increase any potential harm. In this paper, we identified harmful scenarios that might emanate between a child and a social robot due to the manifestation of challenging behaviors. We then quantified the harm levels based on severity indices for one of the challenging behaviors (i.e. throwing of objects). Our results showed that the overall harm levels based on the selected severity indices are relatively low compared to their respective thresholds. However, our investigation of harm due to throwing of a small social robot to the head revealed that it could potentially cause tissue injuries, subconcussive or even concussive events in extreme cases. The existence of such behaviors must be accounted for and considered when developing interactive social robots to be deployed for children with autism.
- Mechanical & Industrial Systems Engineering [360 items ]