Skip to main content
main-content

2022 | Buch

Robot Play for All

Developing Toys and Games for Disability

share
TEILEN
insite
SUCHEN

Über dieses Buch

This book presents a comprehensive guide to the design of playing robots and the related play experiences. Play is a natural activity for building and improving abilities, and it reveals important particularly for persons with disabilities. Many social, physical and cultural factors may hinder children with disabilities from fully enjoying play as their peers. Autonomous robots with specific characteristics can enhance the ludic experience, having implications for the character of the play and presenting opportunities related to autonomy and physical movement, the very nature of robots. Their introduction into play thus provides everybody, and in particular persons with disabilities, new possibilities for developing abilities, improving general status, participating in social contexts, as well as supporting professionals in monitoring progress.

This book presents a framework for the design of playful activities with robots, developed over 20 years’ experience at AIRLab - POLIMI. Part 1 introduces the play concepts and characteristics, and research results about play of children with different kinds of impairments. Part 2 focuses on implementing robots able to play. The design of playful activities is discussed, as well as the necessary characteristics for them to be useful in both general play and activities involving disability-related limitations. In Part 3, the defined framework is used to analyze possibilities involving robots available on the toy market, robots developed at research labs, and robots to be developed in the next future. The aim of the book is to give developers, caregivers, and users a set of methodological tools for selecting, exploring, and designing inclusive play activities where robots play a central role.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
What is the role of robots in defining playing activities, and in particular playing activities for all, where persons with different abilities can play and interact with each other thanks to the presence of a robot? Play is one of the basic activities people and most animals use to develop abilities and skills. The aim of this book is to frame the relevant aspects of playing with robots so as to provide foundations for a structured analysis of what has been so far presented in literature and experimented, and for an informed design of the huge amount of new playing experiences that could be implemented.
Andrea Bonarini, Serenella Besio

Inclusive Play

Frontmatter
Chapter 2. Play and Games
Abstract
What is play? Philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, designers, and computer scientists have given definitions trying to capture the essence of this activity that has been recognized as an essential component of the development process of people (and animals). We present the different definitions and the different types of playful activities and games, as they have been classified, along different dimensions, in structured frameworks. We put in evidence the role of play in the people development process and the accessibility conditions of each type of play activity.
Serenella Besio
Chapter 3. Play and Disabilities
Abstract
The UN Convention on Children’s Rights has stated the right to play for any children, including children with disabilities. For them, play possibilities may be affected by not only the lack of tools to play with, considering the specific impairments, but also by the need for the presence of peers and caregivers to play with. Above all, their right to play may be denied by the unavailability of adequate play contexts, lack of methodological knowledge as well as unawareness of the importance of play. Not only children with disabilities but also adults with developmental disorders often do not have access to play, while play may have a relevant role in their life, as for everybody. Playful activities may improve the motivation to participate in therapies since play is an intrinsic need for everybody. Moreover, play for the sake of play, independently from therapeutic protocols, may make interesting aspects emerging, as well as functional evolution. Appropriate design of playful activities may obtain important improvements but needs to consider the different impairments. In this chapter, we motivate the need of play for everybody, we review how the different types of play may find obstacles in the different types of impairments and we discuss how these obstacles could be removed.
Serenella Besio

Playing Robots

Frontmatter
Chapter 4. Playful Robots
Abstract
What is a robot, how can it be designed considering sensor and actuator possibilities, materials, shape, and control? How can it operate in the unstructured world that it should face when interacting with people? The definitions of robot given by international agencies (ISO, IEEE) open a wide spectrum of possibilities for the implementation of robotic devices, that go beyond the classical mental images that we may have of robots, and get closer to what entertainment producers are proposing in the last seventy years, since electronics has reached the reliability and costs compatible with this mass market. What is important to consider in the design of a robot able to play with people with different abilities in an inclusive way? We discuss different aspects of the development of playing robots, from the ones related to physical aspects, such as shape, external appearance, dimension, material, to the ones enabling functionalities, such as sensors and actuators, and to the ones related to data elaboration and behaviour definition, including adaptation to the human player, a relevant aspect when interacting with people that may exhibit a wide range of possibly unexpected reactions. The final aim for a playing robot is to produce a feeling of animacy, which makes the robot a companion to play with. The goal of this chapter is to provide an insight about the set of tools that could be used to implement playful robots.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 5. Robots and Play Activities
Abstract
How play activities could be structured when a robot is involved and why? What is working and what it is not in a robotic playing activity, not only for persons with disabilities but also for normally developed people? The accent is on physical games, where autonomous robots can move, act autonomously, and become effective game companions. We present issues related to the type of movement, and in general the use of actuators, which should be carefully designed to engage the specific player in an interesting activity. In free play, the robot should be interesting and propose activities that could match the abilities of the player, while in structured games, it should also be able to comply with the game rules, and to adapt abilities to produce behaviours that could keep any player in the state of flow. We analyze the role of robots in the type of play and the contexts related to the different disabilities introduced in Chap. 3, providing a conceptual framework that could be used to analyze the examples that will be presented in the third part of this book. We discuss how it is possible to obtain a playful robot at a cost compatible with the market, overcoming the intrinsic limitations that may come from imperfect sensors and actuators. Robot and game design should interact to originate play situations that can be perceived as appropriate and engaging, also when the available technology cannot achieve the performance that we may like to have.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 6. The Role of Robots in Play Activities for Persons with Disabilities
Abstract
How could robots play in inclusive, physical games? Issues and opportunities are introduced in this chapter. A robot is different from a simple toy, since it can produce its own reactions, and, possibly, take initiatives. This ability provides a new dimension to the use of the play instrument, which does not require the creative act of inventing a kind of pretended interaction, or the cognitive load of following game rules, but enables the engagement in a relationship with an active object. This may be easier than playing with inanimate toys, and reassuring, for instance, for people affected by neuro-developmental disorders. Moreover, it gives the possibility to play autonomously, without the need for assistance, and, possibly, to play with companions. Independent play is an important achievement for persons with disabilities. It may be also possible to provide the robot with sensors that can collect data about play that may be used to objectively assess the progress of the players. We discuss in this chapter what can be the role of a robot in inclusive play, and what are the requirements to obtain a successful experience.
Andrea Bonarini

Experiences with Playing Robots

Frontmatter
Chapter 7. Existing Robotic Toys
Abstract
In this chapter, we present some of the categories of robots that the market is presently offering to play with, and what it is possible to do with commercial robotic toys, including the toys that are not presented as robots, but actually comply with the definitions given in Chap. 4. Millions of robotic toys reach our homes every year. The framework defined in Chap. 4 drives the analysis of categories of robotic toys, their features, and their possible limitations to be used for inclusive play.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 8. Experimental Robots
Abstract
This chapter analyses, according to the presented framework, playful robots developed in research labs in the world and at Politecnico di Milano AI and Robotics Lab. In most cases, these have not reached the market nor development levels that could bring them to the real users in a real setting without the presence of the developers, but they have been used in experiments limited to labs or few, selected care centres or schools. However, it is interesting to analyse these experiences to understand what kind of playful activities have been explored, how these have been evaluated, what kind of outcomes have been obtained, and what kind of technologies have been used, since they trace the directions that are bringing to the next future products. At the end of the chapter, the scenarios to bring these innovative products to the market are analysed. These include the evaluation of effectiveness of this technology, and of the different characteristics that should be taken into account, such as playability, playfulness, accessibility, and usability.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 9. Ethical, Social, and Psychological Issues
Abstract
In this chapter, we discuss the ethical, social, and psychological implications of playing with a robot, in the physical world. Issues like attachment, bullying, and improper use of the device to which some animacy is attributed are reported in literature and in the authors’ experience: they give the opportunity to reflect about social, psychological, and ethical consequences of this new play setting. Measures to limit undesired issues are discussed, together with their implications on design and readiness for the market.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 10. To Infinity and Beyond
Abstract
In this chapter, whose title is inspired by the motto of Buzz Lightyear, the robot toy appearing in the “Toy Story” movies, we put in evidence the open issues, and the developments that are being enabled both by the advancement of technology and by the results of the many experiences that are being done. We envision how playful robots and not yet implemented robotic games could be realized in the very next future, and we also present wishful thinking about desirable robotic games that may suggest further developments.
Andrea Bonarini
Chapter 11. Conclusion
Abstract
This book would like to be a contribution to support the engineered development of robotic devices able to play with people, including people affected by disabilities, and the corresponding play activities. We have shown how it is possible to design a robot that can play a role in the development of new play experiences in the physical world and could be affordable for everybody. We have proposed a framework to analyse the different aspects involved in this activity and guide the development of such robots and play activities, and we have discussed how this can be applied to existing robots and to the ones that could be realized. In this chapter, we summarize what has been presented and propose guidelines for the development process.
Andrea Bonarini, Serenella Besio
Backmatter
Metadaten
Titel
Robot Play for All
verfasst von
Andrea Bonarini
Serenella Besio
Copyright-Jahr
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-05042-8
Print ISBN
978-3-031-05041-1
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05042-8

Premium Partner