Children with autism who require a good deal of human interaction may soon also have a robot friend to help them along. A 2-foot-tall robotic device tested at Vanderbilt University was found effective as a supplement to human interaction in autism therapy. The robot uses a webcam to track a child's movements and it responds appropriately, providing "much of the repeated practice that is essential to learning," said Nilanjan Sarkar, a Vanderbilt professor of mechanical and computer engineering.

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