Ridable Robot for Special Needs Kids

Kudos to the researchers at the University of Delaware! They have developed a ridable robot for special-needs children who can't move around. The robot, called UD1, is drivable using a joystick and has "smart technology" so its rider can explore the world safely.

Link (Image credit: Kathy Atkinson/University of Delaware) - via Robot Gossip


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This should only be used if the child has the physiological inability to move. Otherwise, tough love is needed to encourage the child to develop the skills needed to be mobile. I have a infant son with Down's, I noticed one of their children in the program also has Down's, a vast majority of children with that syndrome can and should be encouraged to walk. Walking and reciprocal motion are not just physical, there have been many links that find that babies that skip a crawling stage (i.e. go straight to walking) suffer with other academic and social skills later. There's some sort of causal link between learning to locomote on your own and higher brain function. Putting a child, like a down's child, in that machine takes away his incentive to learn this skill and will affect him adversely.
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what makes this a robot? it's neat, and doubtlessly will benefit the kids who use it, but just seems like a ride on toy . . .
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I just wonder whether the spotted base-bit is actually /meant/ to look like Davros, the originator of the Daleks, or whether it's just serendipitous.
http://www.davross.clara.co.uk/personal/jpg/davros.jpg
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