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About

About

Keepon Pro is a social robot designed for interaction and research with children.
Published:
Keepon® Pro is a social robot designed for interaction with children — particularly those with developmental disorders such as autism. Under the control of a therapist, this robust hardware/software research platform serves as a social facilitator and as a recording tool in the playroom or lab.
Keepon Pro's minimal (and adorable) design has been observed to elicit positive engagement from children of varying social ability, perhaps by presenting a simplified and easy-to-understand form of the otherwise overwhelming complexities of human social behavior.
With cameras in its eyes and a microphone in its nose, Keepon Pro's playroom perceptions are transmitted to a therapist for responsive puppeteering. Precision motors in Keepon Pro's four degrees of freedom enable quiet and lifelike movement: attention is directed by turning (+/-180°) and nodding (+/-40°), while emotion is expressed by rocking side-to-side (+/-25°) and bouncing or compressing (up to 15mm).  Soft rubber skin presents a tactile exterior that is safe and comfortable for small hands.  
Since 2003, Keepon Pro has been used as a tool for researchers, therapists, pediatricians, and parents to observe, study, and facilitate social development and behaviors (e.g. eye contact, joint attention, touching, caregiving, and imitation) in playrooms and labs around the world. For more information, see:
Human social behavior shares much in common with dance. Our speech, as well as the movement of our body, head, and hands, is periodic and rhythmic. Social scientists such as William S. Condon and Adam Kendon have identified interactional synchrony as a phenomenon that plays an important role in the regulation and coordination of movements, vocalizations, and other social cues. We have been developing technology (using Cycling '74's Max/MSP) to allow robots like Keepon to synchronize with these social rhythms in their interactions. 

This research into dance has resulted in Keepon Pro starring in a number of popular music videos, such as Spoon's "Don't You Evah," above.