Ricky helps children with ASD by displaying pre-programmed emotions; responding to a child's body motions and verbal questions; and making simple statements and asking questions. Also, Ricky has facial recognition ability, so he can remember each individual child and personalize his statements to that child. If you think Ricky sounds like a science fiction movie character, there's a reason for that. Ricky was designed by one of the creators of the robots used in the "Terminator," "Aliens," and "Jurassic Park" movies. Just like these robotic characters, Ricky has highly mobile limbs, and "muscles," making him seem very life-like. Top that off with a soft, furry coat and friendly eyes, and it is obvious why children love Ricky so much. In fact, on the day that Landon met Ricky, children passing by were drawn to Ricky as much as they were to Landon!
Therapists who have used Ricky to treat children with ASD have reported that he helps both verbal and non-verbal children stay engaged and learn. Ricky has a large vocabulary (even in multiple languages), and by pushing a button on Ricky's control device, therapists can vary or repeat Ricky's statements and gestures. This enables therapists to teach children about how their emotions and behaviors influence someone else (in this case, Ricky). Also aiding therapists is Ricky's built-in camera, which enables a child's behavior to be monitored over time.
Additionally, educators can use Ricky as a type of a teaching assistant for school kids at all educational levels. For example, Ricky can help by teaching lessons, giving assignments, scoring tests, or answering questions. Also, because Ricky speaks multiple languages and can wear a variety of outfits, he can inject a dose of fun when teaching languages, history, geography, etc.
Scholastic Robotics is currently seeking therapists and educational programs to use Ricky and then provide feedback that can be used to further perfect and expand his skills. The field of robotics has tremendous potential to enhance human life, and Ricky is a wonderful example of what is possible. Partners and venture capitalists are welcome to help Scholastic Robotics prepare Ricky for widespread use within psychological treatment, education, and more. For additional information about Scholastic Robotics, see www.scholasticrobotics.com. Also, to view Ricky in action, click the button below and then scroll down to see several embedded videos.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017). What is autism spectrum disorder? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder
Centers for Disease Control. (2017). Autism spectrum disorder: Data and statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html
Scholastic Robotics. (2017). Meet Ricky. Retrieved from http://scholasticrobotics.com/