Innovation That Matters

Toy designed to help autistic children learn to play with others


Auti is a toy designed to help autistic children learn positive play behaviors.

Regular readers of Springwise may remember Skoog — the musical instrument designed specifically for children with special needs which we featured late last year. Now, hoping to help others with developmental disorders, Auti is a new toy designed by Helen Andreae for children with autism. Andreae developed Auti as part of an assignment for her Industrial Design degree at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Drawing on observations of a close friend’s autistic child, she noted how autistic children often found it hard to play with others due to a lack of control over their voice and body. This frequently scared other children away when they were trying to make friends. In an effort to improve interactions, she collaborated with child specialists to develop Auti, an interactive toy which helps teach autistic children positive play behaviors. The toy contains programmable sensors that can detect touch and sound, shutting down in response to negative behavior such as screaming and hitting, but responding positively to gentler behavior such as stroking and soft speaking. Auti is animal-like in appearance and action, designed to appeal to children with varying degrees of autism and to stimulate their imagination. Currently still a prototype, Auti is suitable for children aged six months and above, and Andreae claims she would like to broaden its functions for a range of teaching applications before considering producing Auti commercially. The video below explains Auti in more detail: According to Altogether Autism, for every 10,000 children in New Zealand, 38.9 have a form of autism. Could this be a worthwhile product to invest in? Spotted by: Gabriel Vanduinen



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