Two child specialists, an engineer, and an industrial designer at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, have developed a special interactive toy for autistic children, aged six months and up, to stimulate their imaginations and teach positive behaviors.
Known as “Auti”, this furry, quadruped toy contains a number of programmable sensors that can detect touch and sound. Auti will shut down in response to negative behaviors such as hitting or screaming, but can immediately respond positively with movement during friendly interaction, such as stroking or soft speaking.
Because autistic children often have difficulty playing with other children due to a lack of understanding of how to properly control their voice and body, Auti was designed to teach positive play behaviors by helping to develop speaking, touching, and collaborative skills.
Take a look at this video of Auti at work:
Article from Victoria University: Toy teaches autistic children positive play