Tech Transfer eNews Blog

UConn start-up aims to use robotics to help educate children with autism


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

A spinout from the University of Connecticut (UConn) is working to bring helpful robots into special education classrooms around the world.

Movia Robotics has developed technology that helps to teach social skills, learning readiness and academics to children on the autism spectrum.

“As far back as the 1970s, research has shown that children with special needs respond well to robots, and that their interactions are effective,” says Tim Gifford, president and chief technical officer at Movia. “Adults and other children can be very off-putting for an autistic child. Interacting with the robots is more consistent, simpler, and is never judgmental. It makes interactions less stressful.”

Movia started when Gifford, who at the time was a researcher at the university, brought his idea to the tech transfer team at UConn to help protect his intellectual property and accelerate the technology to the marketplace.

“With the implementation of the IP we developed at UConn, the robot is able to run the process in a semi-autonomous fashion, and the teacher or therapist is able to devote even more attention to the children, their progress and documentation,” says Gifford. “With this semi-autonomous capability, schools can treat as many kids as needed. It’s a much more streamlined approach.”

Radenka Maric, vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at UConn, comments, “Movia Robotics exemplifies the types of innovative companies that UConn is committed to helping succeed and grow in Connecticut.”

Source: UConn Today

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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