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 Horizon2020  BabyRobot project and the KASPAR project,  is  further investigating robot-assisted therapy for children with autism with the minimally expressive humanoid robot KASPAR . Kaspar's promotional video can be seen here.  

 

The latest news article, released by Reuters on 31/03/17 can be seen here. The video can be seen here.

 

Academic Interest:

·        Human Robot Interaction (HRI) with specific interest in the application of robotic systems in rehabilitation, therapy and education

·        Autism therapy

·        Dance Movement Therapy

 

 

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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Scientific Publications:

 

Book Chapters:

 

·       Paul Dickerson and Ben Robins (2017). “Conversation Analysis with Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and Limited Verbal Ability” In M. O'Reilly, J.N. Lester, T. Muskett (Eds),  A Practical Guide to Social Interaction Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017.

 

·       Paul Dickerson  and Ben Robins (2015). " Looking or Spotting ".  in The Palgrave Handbook of Child Mental Health . (September 2015); p59–78. Palgrave Macmillan. 

 

·       Aude Billard, Annalisa Bonfiglio, Giorgio Cannata, Piero Cosseddu, Torbjørn S. Dahl, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni, Giorgio Metta, Lorenzo Natale, Ben Robins, Lucia Seminara and Maurizio Valle, (2013) The ROBOSKIN Project: Challenges and Results. In Romansy-19 “ Robot Design, Dynamics and Control, CISM International Centre for Mechanical Sciences Volume 544, Vincent Padois, Philippe Bidaud, and Oussama Khatib (Eds.), pp351-358, Springer, 2013.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Rene te Boekhorst, Aude Billard (2004) Effects of repeated exposure to a humanoid robot on children with autism. In S. Keates, J. Clarkson, P. Langdon and P. Robinson (Eds.) Designing a More Inclusive World, Springer Verlag, London, pp. 225-236. This paper won the best paper award at CWUAAT (Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology), Cambridge , UK , 22-24 March 2004.

 

Journal Articles:

·      Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2018), Kaspar the social robot and ways it may help children with Autism – an overview. ENFANCE, Jan-Mar 2018(1), pp 91-101, UNIVERSITAIRES DE FRANCE .

·      Luke Wood, Hagen Lehmann, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins, Austen Rainer, Dag Syrdal (2016) Robot-mediated interviews for children with autism: What do potential users think? Interacton Studies 17:3: 439-461 .

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2014) Tactile Interactions with a Humanoid Robot - Novel Play Scenario Implementations with Children with Autism. International Journal of Social Robotics (IJSR), Vol. 6(3), pp. 397-415 .

 

·       Joshua Wainer, Ben Robins, Farshid Amirabdollahian, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2014) Using the humanoid robot KASPAR to autonomously play triadic games and facilitate collaborative play among children with autism. IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development (TAMD), Vol. 6(3) pp. 183-199

 

·       Sandra Costa, Hagen Lehmann, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins, Filomena Soares (2014) Using a humanoid robot to elicit body awareness and appropriate physical interaction in children with autism . International Journal of Social Robotics Publisher: Springer.

 

·       Leighter, S., Wainer, J., Wood, N., Dautenhahn, K. & Robins, B. (2014) The Robot Club: Robots as agents to improve the social skills of young people on the autistic spectrum. In : Autism . 37

 

·       Joshua Wainer, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins, Farshid Amirabdollahian (2013) A pilot study with a novel setup for collaborative play of the humanoid robot KASPAR with children with autism. International Journal of Social Robotics (IJSR), Vol. 6 (1), pp. 45-65.

 

·       Luke Wood, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Austen Rainer, Ben Robins, Hagen Lehmann, Dag S. Syrdal (2013) Robot-Mediated Interviews - How effective is a humanoid robot as a tool for interviewing young children?. PLoS ONE, 8(3).

 

·       Paul Dickerson, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2013) Where the action is: A conversation analytic perspective on interaction between a humanoid robot, a co-present adult and a child with an ASD. Interaction Studies 14(2), pp. 297-316.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ester Ferrari, Gernot Kronreif, Barbara Prazak-Aram, Patrizia Marti, Iolanda Iacono, Gert Jan Gelderblom, Tanja Bernd, Francesca Caprino and Elena Laudanna (2012), Scenarios of robot-assisted play for children with cognitive and physical disabilities. Interaction Studies 13(2), pp.189-234.

 

·       Ben Robins, Ester Ferrari, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Gernot Kronrief, Barbara Prazak, Gert-Jan Gerderblom, Francesca Caprino, Elena Laudanna (2010) Human-centred Design Methods: Developing Scenarios for Robot Assisted Play Informed by User Panels and Field Trials. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies IJHCS, 2010.  68(12), 873-898

 

·       Kerstin Dautenhahn, Chrystopher L. Nehaniv, Michael L. Walters, Ben Robins, Hatice Kose-Bagci, N. Assif Mirza, Michael Blow (2009)  KASPAR - A Minimally Expressive Humanoid Robot for Human-Robot Interaction Research. to appear in Special Issue on "Humanoid Robots" for Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, published by Taylor and Francis.

 

·       JoshuaWainer, Ester Ferrari, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins (2009 ) The effectiveness of using a robotics class to foster collaboration among groups of children with autism in an exploratory study. Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Special issue on "Design for Social Interaction through Physical Play"

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2007) Encouraging social interaction skills in children with autism playing with robots: A case study evaluation of triadic interactions involving children with autism, other people (peers and adults) and a robotic toy. ENFANCE, Vol 59(1) Jan-Mar 2007, pp 72-81, UNIVERSITAIRES DE FRANCE

 

·       A. Billard, B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, J. Nadel (2006) Building Robota, a Mini-Humanoid Robot for the Rehabilitation of Children with Autism . RESNA Assistive Technology Journal.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Janek Dubowsky (2006), Does appearance matter in the interaction of children with autism with a humanoid robot? Interaction Studies 7:3, pp. 479-512

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Rene te Boekhorst. and Aude Billard (2005), Robotic assistants in therapy and  education of children with autism: Can a small humanoid robot help encourage social interaction skills? Universal Access in the Information Society (UAIS), Vol 4(2) Special Edition, Springer- Verlag,

 

·       Ben Robins, Paul Dickerson, Penny Stribling and Kerstin Dautenhahn (2004) Robot-mediated joint attention in children with autism: A case study in robot-human interaction, Interaction Studies 5:2, pp. 161-198

 

Conference Proceedings:

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Luke Wood, Abolfazl Zaraki (2017) Developing Interaction Scenarios with a Humanoid Robot to Encourage Visual Perspective Taking Skills in Children with Autism – Preliminary Proof of Concept Tests,  In Proc. The 9th International Conference on Social Robotics,  (ICSR 20017) November 22nd to 24th 2017, Tsukuba, Japan.

·       Luke Wood, Abolfazl Zaraki, Michael Walters, Ori Novanda, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2017) The Iterative Development of the Humanoid Robot Kaspar: An Assistive Robot for Children with Autism. In Proc. The 9th International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR 2017) November 22nd to 24th, 2017, Tsukuba, Japan. (accepted)

·       Luke Wood, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins, Abolfazl Zaraki (2017) Developing Child-Robot Interaction Scenarios with a Humanoid Robot to Assist Children with Autism in Developing Visual Perspective Taking Skills. 26th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (IEEE RO-MAN 2017), Lisbon, 28 August - 1 September 2017




·       Marcus M. Scheunemann, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Maha Salem, Ben Robins (2016) Utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy to Recognize Proximity, Touch and Humans. In 2016 25th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) (pp. 362--367). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·       Ben Robins, Farshid Amirabdollahian, Ze Ji, Kerstin Dautenhahn ( 2010) Tactile interaction with a humanoid robot for children with autism: A case study analysis involving user requirements and results of an initial implementation. 19th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 10) September 2010, Viareggio, Italy.

 

·       Ester Ferrari, Ben Robins and Kerstin Dautenhahn (2010) “Does it work?” A framework to evaluate the effectiveness of a robotic toy for children with special needs. 19th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 10) September 2010, Viareggio, Italy.

 

·       Farshid Amirabdollahian, Ben  Robins,  and Kerstin Dautenhahn, (2009) Robotic Skin Requirements Based on Case Studies on Interacting with Children with Autism, in “Tactile Sensing” workshop at IEEE International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 09)  December 2009, Paris, France.
 

·       Ester Ferari, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2009) Therapeutic and educational objectives in Robot Assisted Play for children with autism.  18th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 09) September 2009, Toyama, Japan

 

·       Ester Ferari, Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2009) Robot as a Social Mediator - a Play Scenario Implementation with Children with Autism. 8th international Conference on Interaction Design and Children,  IDC09 -Workshop on Creative Interactive Play for Disabled Children , Como,  Italy,     June  3-5  2009

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Paul Dickerson, (2009) From Isolation to Communication: A Case Study Evaluation of Robot Assisted Play for Children with Autism with a Minimally Expressive Humanoid Robot, Proc. the Second International Conferences on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, ACHI 09, February 1-7, 2009 - Cancun, Mexico
 

·       Josh Wainer, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Ben Robins (2008) Using robots to foster collaboration among groups of children with autism in an after-school class setting: An exploratory study. Proc. of 1st Workshop on Design for Social Interaction through Physical Play at the 2nd International conference on Fun and Games, 22-24f October 2008, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

 

·       Ben Robins, Ester Ferrari, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2008) Developing Scenarios for Robot Assisted Play. Proc. the 17th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, (RO-MAN 2008), 1-3 August 2008, Munich , Germany.

 

·       B. Robins, K. Dautenhahn, R. te Boekhorst, C. L. Nehaniv (2008) Behaviour Delay and Robot Expressiveness in Child-Robot Interactions: A User Study on Interaction Kinesics. Proc. ACM/IEEE 3rd International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2008). 12-15 March 2008, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

 

·       Serenella Besio, Silvia Dini,Ester Ferrari, Ben Robins (2007) Critical Factors Involved in Using Interactive Robots for Play Activities of Children with Disabilities Proc. The 9th European Conference for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE 2007) , 3-5 October, San-Sebastian, Spain.

 

·       Ben Robins, Nuno Otero, Ester Ferrari, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2007) Eliciting Requirements for a Robotic Toy for Children with Autism - Results from User Panels. Proc. the 16th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, (RO-MAN 2007), 26-29 August 2007, Jeju island, Korea.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn (2006) The Role of the Experimenter in HRI Research - a Case Study Evaluation of Children with Autism Interacting with a Robotic Toy. Proc. The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN06), Haftield, UK.

 

·       Megan Davis , Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Christopher  Nehaniv Stuart Powell (2005), A comparison of interactive and robotic systems in therapy and education for children with autism. In proc. Assistive Technology from Virtuality to Reality - 8th European Conference for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe AAATE05, Lille , France , 6-9 September, 2005.

 

·       Ben Robins, Paul Dickerson, Penny Stribling and Kerstin Dautenhahn (2005), Robots as embodied beings - Interactionally sensitive body movements in interactions among autistic children and a robot. In proc. 14th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication -RO-MAN05, Nashville , USA , 13-15 August 2005.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Janek Dubowsky (2005), Robots as Isolators or Mediators for Children with Autism? A Cautionary Tale, Proc. AISB05: Social Intelligence and Interaction in Animals, Robots and Agents, 12-15 April 2005, Hatfield, UK.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Rene te Boekhorst, Aude Billard (2004), Robots as Assistive Technology - Does Appearance Matter?, Proc. IEEE Ro-man 2004, 13th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication September 20-22, 2004 Kurashiki , Okayama Japan. This paper won the best paper award at the 14th IEEE RO-MAN 2005 international workshop.

 

·       Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Janek Dubowski (2004), Investigating Autistic Children's Attitudes Towards Strangers with the Theatrical Robot - A New Experimental Paradigm in Human-Robot Interaction Studies, Proc. IEEE Ro-man 2004, 13th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication September 20-22, 2004 Kurashiki, Okayama Japan.

 

·       Kerstin Dautenhahn, Iain Werry, Aude Billard, Ben Robins, Tamie Salter (2003), Robots That Autistic Children Can Play With Proc.The 7th international Congress Autism Europe Lisboa 2003. November 14-17 , 2003 Lisbon , Portugal .

Others:

·     Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn. (2004), Interacting with robots: Can we encourage social interaction skills in children with autism? ACM SIGACCESS Accessibility and Computing archive Issue 80, pp 6-12, ACM Press, New York, USA, September 2004.

                                                                                                              

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