My  qualifications and many years of work experience lie in two disciplines: Computer Science (since 1980) and Dance Movement Therapy (since 1992). I have completed my PhD research degree in the school of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, bringing together my expertise and experience in these two disciplines.

My research, which started in 2002 in the Aurora Project, investigates the potential use of robots as therapeutic or educational 'toys' specifically for use by children with autism. The research focuses on ways that robotic systems can engage autistic children in simple interactive activities, with the aim of encouraging basic communication and social interaction skills.

 

My recent work was part of the European projects IROMEC and ROBOSKIN. The IROMEC project  acknowledged the important role of play in child development as a crucial vehicle for learning about the physical and social environment, the self, and for developing social relationships.  IROMEC targeted children who are prevented from playing, either due to cognitive, developmental or physical impairments which affect their playing skills, and has investigated how robotic toys can empower children with disabilities to discover the range of play styles from solitary to social and cooperative play.

In the ROBOSKIN project,  which developed skin-based technologies and capabilities for safe autonomous and interactive robots, I have helped to develop cognitive mechanisms that use tactile feedback to improve human-robot interaction capabilities particularly in the application domain of robot assisted play for children with autism.

 

My current work, part of the KASPAR project,  is  further investigating robot-assisted therapy for children with autism with the minimally expressive humanoid robot KASPAR. The latest application of the robot KASPAR with children with Autism can be seen here.

 

Academic Interest:

 

 

Academic Qualifications:

1980 - Diploma in Computing, Practical Engineering College, Nagev University

1990 - BA Combined Studies, Majoring in Dance, Middlesex University

1992 - Post Graduate Diploma Dance Movement Therapy - St. Albans College of Art & Design

1998 - MSc Computer Science - University of Hertfordshire

2005 - PhD research degree  in Computer Science - University of Hertfordshire, Title: 'A humanoid Robot as assistive technology for Encouraging Social Interaction Skills in children with autism'.

 

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Career History:

 

Dance Therapy and Dance in the Community activities (on part-time basis)

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