Mwoo is a new, friendly robot which aims to stimulate communication with people with autism and learning difficulties. Designed by Stimul’Activ, Mwoo has just been presented for the first time. Mwoo is currently the only product of its kind, and will now be trialled, thanks to support from the Orange Foundation.
Mwoo is designed for people with autism who cannot speak or use a tablet because of their disabilities or learning difficulties. It is the size and shape of a baby - easy to hold and carry around. Mwoo is also the first communication and sensory stimulation device for people who are very isolated by their disability.
Users develop an emotional and playful relationship with Mwoo, like with a toy, and interact with it like a tablet thanks to its inbuilt sensors. "Mwoo vibrates to attract attention if it is being ignored. It purrs like a cat when it is picked up, displays personalized images and photos, tells stories... Everything can be programmed from the carer’s tablet," explains Pierre Rouhaud, its founder. Mwoo can relay visual or audio instructions ("time to eat" for example), schedule the day, but also send a message, or follow up on a stimulation by touching the part of Mwoo that was in contact with the body.
Mwoo functions can be tailored to a variety of sensory needs for different people with autism: some rarely react and need stimulation, others are hyper-active and need to be protected from over-stimulation. These sensory differences are a way into understanding autism and better supporting people with autism. They go to the heart of Mwoo, which was not only designed to be used for assistance with everyday life, but also to stimulate learning and interaction.
The Orange Foundation is supporting the trial phase for Mwoo, for digital technologies at the service of people with autism
Mwoo will be trialled at the Cassepierre Disability Care Home (FAM) and Specialised Care Home (MAS) thanks to our support. This robot will be one of a number of innovative digital tools, such as tablets and educational apps, which we support because they present a means for people with autism to learn and interact with their loved ones.
Myriam Viala-Aubert, Chief Executive of Delta Plus speaks about the role of the Orange Foundation in this trial: "During the last call for digital technology and autism projects, the Orange Foundation decided to support our project to experiment with Mwoo at the FAM and MAS care homes. This support enabled us to finance the purchase of 22 Mwoo robots adapted to the needs of our residents. We hope to learn a great deal from the trial."
"I found out about Mwoo through the Autism and Digital Technologies network facilitated by the Orange Foundation in partnership with organizations to support people with autism. It was also on display at the French National Convention for Autism Resource Centres on 26 and 27 May in Arcachon," explained Kattalin Etchegoyen, a speech therapist and Director of the Training Department at the Aquitaine Centre for Autism Resources.