Keepon, a robot designed to interact with children for the purpose of studying social development and interpersonal coordination. Its minimal form is designed to make the robot's attentive, emotive and rhythmic behaviors easy to understand, even for children with developmental disorders such as autism. Keepon has four degrees of freedom, a soft skin for safety, lifelike movement cameras in its eyes and a microphone in its nose. Keepon was designed by Hideki Kozima, a professor at Miyagi University in Japan and co-founder of BeatBots LLC, home of Keepon.
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BeatBots LLC develops robotic characters that defy entrenched notions of robots as impersonal, mechanical tools. The company's core design philosophy centers around cuteness, personality, simplicity and rhythmic interaction. BeatBots is based in Pittsburgh, Pa., in a growing nexus of innovative robotic technology and artistic activity.
The company was founded in 2007 by Marek Michalowski, a doctoral student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and Hideki Kozima, formerly a senior research scientist at Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and currently a professor at Miyagi University. The two worked together on Keepon, and the robot was used for over five years in peer-reviewed research on social development and interpersonal coordination, as well as in therapeutic practice for children with developmental disorders such as autism.
Keepon has won numerous awards and prizes and been exhibited at several events. Papers about Keepon have been presented at international conferences and published in journals, and the robot has been the subject of several television news programs. To learn more, visit the Beatbots website Here. (Date of Image: October 2008)