The factors involved in developmental disorders such as autism are complicated and numerous. Some of the known and common characteristics that children have are decreased eye contact, delayed social and communicative skills and possible altered sensory response.

People, including children, can be unpredictable and impatient. This patience can be especially limited for those with delays in speech, communication, and interaction. Social interaction, like everything else, takes practice, and this is a great, simple device which allows the facilitation of those social skills which a child may be lacking.

The Keepon Pro is a simply designed robot that hides its more complex function. It is an interactive robot which can maintain eye contact, convey attention by turning and nodding, and express emotion by rocking side to side and bouncing up and down. This allows children with developmental disorders to, among other things, practice social interaction in a safe and predictable environment. Having handled one of these, I can say that it is a small simple device that reacts to the amount of pressure that you press it with, so there is definitely a feedback component.

At least one study  has shown that Keepon encourages children to be socially interactive and share their emotion and attention with others.

Full-size image (32 K)

Kozima H, Nakagawa C, Yasuda Y. Child-robot interaction: a pilot study in autism therapy. Progress in Brain Research. 2007; pp385-400.

I was told they were on sale for about $30-40 but sold out, so I am not sure of where they are for sale now and was not able to find the information on their site. You are able to download a 2D version on your iOS device.