New rehabilitation technique involves teaching robots to play Angry Birds

By Jennifer PIlgrim,

Sometimes, the most unique rehabilitation techniques provide the best therapy for patients. This appears to be the case at Georgia Tech, where kids are teaching robots how to play the popular game Angry Birds in order to help them learn how to take turns, re-use their muscles, and other skills while having fun.

It's a pretty easygoing and unique task: the children play games, like Angry Birds, and two-legged table robots watch as they do so. The robots keep an eye on the score, through screenshots and then recreates what the child did during the game in an effort to increase the score.

“The robot is able to learn by watching because it knows how interaction with a tablet app is supposed to work,” said Ayanna Howard in a statement to Tech Crunch. She is the project leader at Georgia Tech and a professor within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The therapy is designed to help the children cope with each of their unique disabilities. The robots react positively or negatively to how they play the game, and can also make requests of the children, like a partnership. The little robots are also available for the kids to take home with them, for more one-on-one training outside of the study, reports The DC.

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