NAIST unveils automated system providing training for people with communication difficulties ~ Guidance provided through conversation with a computer-based avatar ~ (March 13, 2015)

Information Science 2015/03/13

A joint group of researchers at the Augmented Human Communication Lab of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST; President Naotake Ogasawara) and the Center for Special Needs Education of the Nara University of Education (President Tsuneto Nagatomo) have developed a system that allows for the automation of "social skills training," a training regimen used by psychologists to help people with communication difficulties train their social and communication skills.

The system, named the "Automated Social Skills Trainer" was developed by Professor Satoshi Nakamura, Associate Professor Tomoki Toda, Assistant Professor Graham Neubig, Assistant Professor Sakriani Sakti, and Doctoral student Hiroki Tanaka of NAIST, and Professors Hidemi Iwasaka and Hideki Negoro at the Nara University of Education, and is aimed at helping people with social communication difficulties such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) receive social skills training anytime and anywhere, by speaking to a computer-based conversational avatar. Experimental results showed that by talking to the system, users were able to improve their speaking skills, and make a better impression on people watching them speak.

The results of the research will be presented at the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI2015) on March 31st in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Fig.1:Training using the Automated Social Skills Trainer
Fig.1:Training using the Automated Social Skills Trainer

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