Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Phobot: The Phobic Robot

Phobot - a robot created by students from the University of Amsterdam - won top honors at an international conference on Human-Robot Interaction .

Phobot was created to help children deal with phobias. It is programmed to be specifically frightened of other robots. It displays fear, anxiety and avoidance when it is initially confronted by another robot. But as the Phobot moves through a psychological-behavioral program of being exposed to little robots to bigger and bigger ones, it overcomes its fears.

So clever.

For more on this, read here


Romeo Vitelli said...

Maybe they can send Phobot to ELIZA for treatment.

The Lone Beader said...

He's cool! I love robots. I'm gonna make a beaded one someday...

Beachwriter said...

Totally cool! It is amazing what we can do with depression, phobias, and so on. Great for the students :)

Casdok said...

How interesting!

Jade said...

I actually heard about this on N.P.R. yesterday. Very creative method of treatment.

Id it is said...

Has this been field tested Deb, or is it too early for that? Without meaning to be negative,will this pretty much remain in the realms of academia or could be used on a larger scale, if at all? Would it be a part of a doctor's office or will it be up for sale as a gadget that wealthy people with phobias would buy?

MYSTI said...

How very cool and clever!

Scott said...

Oh that is AWESOME! Such innovative therapy--I'm sure it will help lots of kids!

~Deb said...

It's fascinating how kids are learning much more in depth than they used to.

Deb said...

Dear Romeo,
Uhh--- who's ELIZA?

Dear Lone,
You are so funny. And I'm sure I'd love your beaded robot too. You're an artist!

Dear Beach,
A while ago, I attended a conference on virtual reality and psychotherapy. Another amazing breakthrough that marries technology and psychology. Love it!

Dear Casdok,
I agree.

Dear Jade,
Creative, clever and useful. Such smart people in the world!

Dear ID,
I don't know if it's been tested. With every technological invention, there's a slippery slope that comes with it. One of my first reactions when I read this article was, "I'll be obsolete soon." Meaning that the human aspect of healing won't be needed.

Dear Mysti,

Dear Scott,
Therapy with kids often uses other means than "talking". Play therapy, art, music, etc. And even technology. If a modality can help a person move through trauma, it's good by me!

Dear ~Deb,
So many children have lost childhoods nowadays. I yearn for the days when childhood had more innocence and simplicity. That being said, they do have opportunities, as you say, to learn more deeply.

Saur♥Kraut said...

VERY clever, indeed. It replaces the classic therapeutic dolls/puppets and should be MUCH more effective.

Kawana Aminata Oliver said...

They talk about robot technology helping stroke survivors like myself.

Miranda said...

Technology never ceases to amaze me!

Merelyme said...

wow that is really something...i would never think of such a thing.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hey thats cheating! The Robot has someone "talking to, (it), in a soft voice and holding its hand." If I had someone talking to me in a soft voice and holding my hand everywhere I went, my anxiety would be reduce too.

OHN said...

I thing techy things are great but worry that the lack of human to human contact might not be as helpful...I guess I am on the fence with this robot...could be great but only if used with a human therapist there to have a real conversation. Just my opinion :)

S'onnie said...

Thats very cool!!!

dawn said...

That's really neat!

CrackerLilo said...

Oh, that's wonderful! Maybe it would help for social anxiety, too? I love the idea; I love that they're even *trying* a tactic like this, one that kids might actually enjoy. I know quite a few people (*cough* married one *cough*) who were better with things than people all their lives, and I have to admit that sometimes I like things or animals better myself.

Midwife with a Knife said...

I have to agree with ohn. It seems the point of phobot is to demonstrate sort of self-calming behavior in the face of phobias to kids with phobias.

I have to suspect that these may be better learned from a human, although phobot is cute in it's own way.

kath said...

I used to work in a periodontal practice where one of the partners was also an orthodontist.

He had a talking robot that he would send into the room with instruments in its little metal fist and make his voice come out of it.

Obviously this guy was a hoot.. he was also a doll to work with and the patients loved it!

IntelligentLayPerson said...

Hrmmm... my blog says I exist today!

I have a small robot phobia.. j/k

I'm not sure if I misunderstood or if others misunderstood, but it looks to me as if the children are helped by watching the robot overcome it's fears and not by counseling from the robot.

You think it's because the robot is animated the children can actually watch it go through the steps whereas with a doll or with a book they don't get the same quick effect. A movie wouldn't help as quickly because you still aren't experiencing it live.

Deb said...

Dear Saur,
Just another therapy tool. It's nice to have a variety to use.

Dear KAwana,
Yes, that's true.

Dear Miranda,
I'm in awe of technology.

Dear Mere,
Me neither!

Dear Awake,
That's the point, right ;)

Dear OHN,
I also worry about that balance too.

Dear Sonnie,
I thought it was cool!

Dear Dawn,
Inventive and useful and cool.

Dear Cracker,
I know people like that too. I guess there is a place for us all in the world.

Dear Midwife,
Just a tool or play techinique to aid in therapy. I loathe to think that the human bond will be obsolete!

Dear Kath,
What a fun guy!!!

Dear Intelligent,
I agree with what you say.