Rear-projected robots use computer graphics technology to create facial animations and project them on a mask to show the robot’s facial cues and expressions. These types of robots are becoming commercially available, though more research is required to understand how they can be effectively used as a socially assistive robotic agent. This paper presents the results of a pilot study on comparing the facial expression recognition abilities of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with typically developing (TD) children using a rear-projected humanoid robot called Ryan. Six children with ASD and six TD children participated in this research, where Ryan showed them six basic expressions (i.e. anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) with different intensity levels. Participants were asked to identify the expressions portrayed by Ryan. The results of our study show that there is not any general impairment in expression recognition ability of the ASD group comparing to the TD control group; however, both groups showed deficiencies in identifying disgust and fear. Increasing the intensity of Ryan’s facial expressions significantly improved the expression recognition accuracy. Both groups were successful to recognize the expressions demonstrated by Ryan with high average accuracy.
Askari, Farzaneh; Feng, Huanghao; Sweeny, Timothy D.; and Mahoor, Mohammad H., "A Pilot Study on Facial Expression Recognition Ability of Autistic Children Using Ryan, a Rear-Projected Humanoid Robot" (2018). Electrical and Computer Engineering: Graduate Student Scholarship. 3.
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