TAMER: Touch-guided Anxiety Management via a Robot Pet
Since SPIN first started working with haptic social robots around 2009, we wondered if they'd be useful therapeutically with kids. One important direction has focused on anxiety management in various contexts. The first step was to build on our haptic understanding of our original Haptic Creature robot platform to confirm what we suspected from anecdotal observations: the Creature's breathing motion calmed people from their initial state, whereas controls (the same robot not moving, or no robot at all) did not have this effect. Now we're proceeding to test the same idea with kids in genuinely stressful situations.