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SAR Auditory Systems

The SARs focus on interaction between an individual and the robot. For auditory interaction, two-way speech communication is the medium of choice. Speech is the predominant mode of communication among humans. Using speech, we can effectively convey thoughts and emotions. Robots can use speech synthesis as an output mode to communicate with a child and speech recognition as a means of capturing the utterances of the child. Even as infants, babies are quickly able to recognize and interpret tonal cues from their parents (Snow 1972). These verbal cues can be critical for SAR-child interaction as they can be used to engage the child as a social mediator or as a facilitator in social exchanges (Diehl 2003; Diehl et al. 2012).

Other Sensor Capabilities

A wide variety of remaining tools and sensors are available to integrate within a SAR. It is only necessary to determine the most effective modes of engagement. For example, if a certain child is relatively mobile and affectionate, that child may be more engaged with a SAR that has the ability to sense touch with tactile sensors, such as Roboskin (Billard et al. 2013). Perhaps another child who is nonverbal with limited mobility and cognitive impairments might benefit from a myoelectric sensor to connect muscle activity directly to the SAR. Other sensors include electronic noses (Loutfi and Coradeschi 2006), force plates to determine the direction of lean (Kudoh, Komura, and Ikeuchi 2006), reflective sensors for refined skeletal tracking (Mbouzao 2013), and heart rate monitors to track mood (Appelhans and Luecken 2006). The key is to capitalize on the modes of communication best represented by the SARs’ demographic.

 
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