‘Milo’, the humanoid robot, set to help children with autism in Middle East

Experts have found hat Robots can help children with autism in ways humans cannot

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‘Milo’, a humanoid robot, is all set to transform the life of children with autism in the Middle East through its specialized educational programs and unique gestures.

Challenges around autism have increased 10-fold during the last 40 years. With one in every hundred children affected, the number of cases is increasing drastically in the UAE and the Gulf.

Experts have found hat Robots can help children with autism in ways humans cannot. A therapist working along with the humanoid robot is able to get the children’s attention and engagement, and help them develop basic skills.

The robot - in the making for three years with $13 million spent on R&D - was developed in the US by RoboKind, a pioneer in the development of socially advanced robots.

Bringing Milo to the Middle East has been a rather circuitous journey through France where it arrived courtesy of RoboCARE Lab, a Toulese-based tech company with a focus on robotics and connected objects. One of its aims is to help develop personal fulfilment for children with autism and with this in mind, it introduced the humanoid robot to France.

In October last year, the US and French companies entered a partnership to leverage advanced social robotics to deliver proven autism curriculum and cognitive therapy in France.

It is at this juncture that Lebanon-based MT2 (Mobile Technology Tomorrow) teamed up with RoboCARE Lab to bring Milo to the Middle East.

MT2 (Mobile Technology Tomorrow) is a media and mobile entertainment company in Lebanon which has been very successful in pioneering mobile monetization.

They do this through Mobile content creation and distribution, Mobile communication, Mobile payment, Mobile Marketing, and Mobile Apps.

Late last year, they launched a platform for start-ups, and announced that they will use their domain knowledge to help kickstart ventures and help them to figure out the market by leveraging technology.

“Following our initiative to go hand in hand with visionary entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, MT2 decided to enter the Robotics market recently with Robocarelab - the French company specialized in robotics and connected objects - in order to introduce Milo to the Middle East market, says Naji Bouhabib, CEO, MT2, during a visit to Dubai to introduce Milo to potential health providers, therapy centers and special needs canters.

Autism being a major issue in the Gulf and Middle East, this is bound to help parents, educators therapists and healthcare providers an effective tool to communicate and help autistic children.

“Milo is already commercialized in Europe, and what MT2 is providing is technology know-how and regional go-to-market support, in order to customize it for the Middle East market,” says Bouhabib.

The customization will be in the form of translation services, mobile development, etc., he added.

This according to Bouhabib, follows MT2’s own unique approach of going hand in hand with visionary entrepreneurs to build, develop and commercialize their ideas.

There are many modules in the Milo humanoid program – Introduction, Conversational, Situational and emotional understanding.

What Milo does is it extends the educator’s ability and help reduce the cost of high-quality instruction. In a one -on-one lesson, Milo records answers as well as reactions, which the educator or therapist can access via the reporting interface.

MT2’s involvement will be to exclusively represent Milo in the Middle East, provide tech support wherever needed, Arabic translation and finding sponsors.

With autism levels going up in the UAE and the Gulf, not every affected child has access to behavioral therapy and educational supportive system. This is where ‘Milo’, the humanoid robot comes in.

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