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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Babies Driving Robots!

My dear friend Linda recently sent me a link to an article about "babies driving robots" of all things! Linda and I used to work together treating lymphedema patients and she recently took a position as a teacher assistant in the U of MN Physical Therapy Program. Currently she is teaching the Human Growth and Development class, and I have made her promise to forward her notes to me. Included in her first batch of notes was this article about researchers at the University of Delaware who have "outfitted kid-sized robots to provide mobility to children who are unable to fully explore the world on their own."

I was a bit skeptical when I first read the heading, but found it to be a fascinating concept after I read the article. As we all know, providing a stimulating environment for babies promotes brain development. When a child is limited to explore their surroundings due to mobility issues, they potentially miss exploration opportunities that "typical" children enjoy. This would include not only missed independent learning experiences, but also social interaction with peers.

“Infants with limited mobility play in one location while their peers or siblings go off on distant adventures all over the room or playground,” Galloway said. “With the robot, they become the center of attention because their classmates want to try it. We predict that this increased social interaction alone will provide an important boost in their cognitive development.”

Here is the link to the article:

*The little boy in the article is adorable!


  1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this article. :-)

  2. When can we get that???! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Interesting article. Not sure what I think about it. I still feel the best place for a baby is on the floor on his tummy :) But it's an interesting concept, especially the point about the socialization aspect.


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