A ‘Political Robot’ Teaches Autistic Children To Learn Ways Of Expressing Emotions

Scientists have created a robot that mimics Donald Trump in a bid to teach autistic children how to express themselves emotionally.

The robot, grinning widely, copies Donald Trump’s curled mouth, also when he is angry.

The robot was created by scientists in London, England. They made the robot to mimic the exaggerated facial expressions of Trump and other political figures such as Boris Johnson, and Jeremy Corbyn. The creator said they believe that the creation can really help autistic children.

Accordingly, researchers at Imperial College found that distinguishing mannerisms of the political class comes to play, especially that of the US president’s scornful curled lips and the ex-foreign secretary’s comical bewilderment, are templates to build upon.

Digitally, data from a million scanned images were fed into 2 feet-tall robot Zeno, which was developed at Imperial. This robot is able to see through a chest camera and uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) to process the information.


Robot Zeno not only mimics facial expression bit encourages children to copy him. The robot has been put to work at the Queensmill School, a special school for autistic children in Shepherd’s Bush. Amazingly, pupils there treat him like a classmate.

Zeno has gone more than imitating the facial expressions of the politicians previously mentioned. It can also mimic the facial expressions of Tory MP Ken Clarke.

According to Maja Pantic, who leads at the iBUG Group, the geometry of a face can tell many things. These can be information on gender, facial expressions of politicians and how their features change, what wrinkles appear, and how eyebrows and lip corners are raised. The robot was trained to interpret the movements and also those of the autistic children.

About a hundred children are on this learning curve. They have to overcome some difficulties associated with gestures. Zeno the robot helps the children to associate specific looks with exact feelings.

Zeno is very effective, for there is the story of a boy who was not speaking though he knew how to speak. He didn’t speak for about a year and went home after having a session with Zeno. Reaching home, he said ‘Mum, tomorrow, there will be a robot in school.’ It was a very interesting development.

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Samuel Afolabi is a lazy tech-savvy that loves writing almost all tech-related kinds of stuff. He is the Editor-in-Chief of TechVaz. You can connect with him socially :)

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