Development of cheap and small Probo for at-home autism therapy

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The Robotics and Multibody Mechanics Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) developed the social robot Probo that is now used for investigating robot assisted therapies for children with autism spectrum disorders. Currently,Probo is too big and expensive for the children to take home and continue the
therapeutic process. Therefore, the aim of the thesis is to design a small and cheap stuffed version of Probo which is called "Probolino". An intervention for autistic children is programmed in collaboration with a psychologist or therapist.
This master thesis discusses the development of electronic parts and web interface of Probolino. The hardware of Probolino is based on Raspberry Pi microcomputer. Different sensors are used in order to detect objects (iconic cards with RFID tags) and touches from external environment. These sensors are linked to the micro-computer via a modified-Arduino board. A small composite LCD screen is attached to the Probolino to display the graphical user interface (GUI). A wireless internet connection is integrated on Probolino. The program for autistic children is defined from a web application. By selecting icons representing daily activities, parents or therapists can put these icons into a timeline to make a day-scheme for children and upload it to Probolino. The content of each activity is configured with the same procedure. With future applications to come, Probolino is expected to be a commercial tool for robot assisted therapy.
Date of Award28 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBram Vanderborght (Promotor)


  • robot
  • autism therapy

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