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July 13, 2010

Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot

Benedict Carey & John Markoff:

The boy, a dark-haired 6-year-old, is playing with a new companion.

The two hit it off quickly -- unusual for the 6-year-old, who has autism -- and the boy is imitating his playmate's every move, now nodding his head, now raising his arms.

"Like Simon Says," says the autistic boy's mother, seated next to him on the floor.

Yet soon he begins to withdraw; in a video of the session, he covers his ears and slumps against the wall.

But the companion, a three-foot-tall robot being tested at the University of Southern California, maintains eye contact and performs another move, raising one arm up high.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at July 13, 2010 1:32 AM
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