Modeling Engagement in Long-Term, In-Home Socially Assistive Robot Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

by   Shomik Jain, et al.

Socially assistive robotics (SAR) has great potential to provide accessible, affordable, and personalized therapeutic interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, human-robot interaction (HRI) methods are still limited in their ability to autonomously recognize and respond to behavioral cues, especially in atypical users and everyday settings. This work applies supervised machine learning algorithms to model user engagement in the context of long-term, in-home SAR interventions for children with ASD. Specifically, two types of engagement models are presented for each user: 1) generalized models trained on data from different users; and 2) individualized models trained on an early subset of the user's data. The models achieved approximately 90 engagement, despite the high variance in data observed across users, sessions, and engagement states. Moreover, temporal patterns in model predictions could be used to reliably initiate re-engagement actions at appropriate times. These results validate the feasibility and challenges of recognition and response to user disengagement in long-term, real-world HRI settings. The contributions of this work also inform the design of engaging and personalized HRI, especially for the ASD community.


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