MOVIA Robotics doing great things in technology, in particular, that is on a mission to aid humanity with advanced technology. MOVIA Robotics is a collaborative robotics company that develops systems and software that enables people and robots to work together to assist people with special needs. MOVIA’s team of professionals, based in Bristol, Connecticut, and serving families, schools, and doctors worldwide, is dedicated to ensuring the success of both children and their parents.
The firm develops solutions that use collaborative robotic technology to assist youngsters on the autistic spectrum and those with particular needs and talents in learning and growing.
Timothy Gifford founded MOVIA—a world-renowned scientist, researcher, and entrepreneur who collaborated with NASA and led the team that created the Smithsonian’s first virtual reality exhibit— and is a sought-after consultant and presenter on Robot-Assisted Instruction, Autism, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Collaborative Robotics, Human Perception, and Assistive Technology. (Source Forbes)
MOVIA’s Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI) System has a direct, beneficial, and long-lasting effect on the lives of individuals with autism. MOVIA offers a turnkey solution and one of the most innovative approaches to educating children with autism by guiding them through learning readiness, daily living, social-emotional, educational, and enjoyable activities using robots. In addition, MOVIA’s technology improves communication, social interactions, and executive brain functions for families with children on the autism spectrum through a simple process of consistent lesson delivery based on curriculum developed by teachers in collaboration with therapists and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) professionals.
MOVIA’s CEO, Jean-Pierre Bolat, remarked, “MOVIA Robotics is ecstatic to expand its relationship with the ZFC family. We are now expanding our reach and offering our solutions to many deserving children and families, bridging the digital and educational equity divide. We are thrilled to be a ZFC II portfolio business, and we look forward to working with ZFC to advance our purpose of improving the lives of people with disabilities.”
According to Bernie Zahren, manager of ZFC II, “We’re thrilled to offer our investors the opportunity to participate in the seed round for MOVIA Robotics. We are thrilled with what the team has accomplished in such a short period and at Covid-19 and look forward to assisting them in realizing their ambition.”
MOVIA’s robot-agnostic approach enables them to employ a diverse array of “best-of-breed” robots while concentrating on software and system development, course delivery, and comprehensive content. In addition, this novel technique enables clients to select a form, fit, function, and price point that is appropriate for schools, clinics, and families.
MOVIA Robotics is a collaborative robotics firm founded by internationally known scientist, researcher, and entrepreneur Timothy Gifford in collaboration with the University of Connecticut. MOVIA Robotics develops systems and software that enable people and robots to work together. MOVIA’s Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI) systems assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs achieve their full potential for learning and growth by using their proprietary robotic technology. MOVIA Robotics develops strategies to assist these children in overcoming obstacles to learning, socialization, and adaptation while fostering a positive learning environment at school and home by dynamically guiding them through activities using evidence-based prompting and instructional design. MOVIA’s RAI systems have been placed in schools, clinics, and homes and are backed by years of research and development. MOVIA’s instructional content is written by educators and therapists and adheres to the most rigorous unique education curriculum standards.
Movia has spent several years focusing its technology development on developing a practical and resilient, semi-autonomous platform that requires minimal teacher intervention. The company is specific that its technology plan will significantly expand this fundamental competence, focusing on more autonomy, using the internet of things, and enhancing their goods and solutions through enhanced sensor capabilities.
“By implementing the intellectual property produced at UConn, the robot can execute the procedure semi-autonomously, allowing the teacher or therapist to spend even more attention to the children, their growth, and documentation,” Gifford explains. “Schools can treat as many children as necessary with this semi-autonomous capability. This is a significantly more simplified approach.”
Gifford believes that this technology will become affordable enough for families with special needs children to own a Movia robot one day.
“Ultimately, this system is about how humans and machines can collaborate,” Gifford explains. “The notion that our technology and business can help these families better their academic and social outcomes is what keeps us going.”
The decision to focus on children on the Autism Spectrum stemmed from Gifford’s desire to assist his wife. She is an elementary school teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut, one of the nation’s leading school districts. She described how autistic individuals frequently demand a high level of one-on-one care, which is extremely difficult for school workers to provide. Gifford then set out to create an effective tool that would assist teachers, therapists, and parents reach out to youngsters and helping them in acquiring the skills necessary to succeed in life. Gifford integrated his research into human-robot interaction with previous work to create virtual characters and friendly robots capable of interacting with youngsters.
He notes that the name “MOVIA” was inspired by the words “movement” and “motivation,” a natural combination given that MOVIA helps families move in a positive direction and pushes children to study by making it accessible and enjoyable. In addition, Robot-Assisted Instruction capitalizes on the unique peer link between a child and a robot to create learning opportunities. According to research, robots can assist youngsters with autism in solving issues, verbalizing their thoughts, and developing a communicative link with the robot. This promotes progress at home and in the classroom.
Recent advancements in affordable assistive technologies have benefited parents raising and teaching their autistic children at home tremendously. For instance, assistive devices can aid with communication, sensory problems, daily living activities, preparation for learning, and social skills.
Muniba Masood, Vice President of Sales, explains, “Mothers of children with autism are not commended enough for their selflessness in raising a child with special needs.” Unfortunately, it takes a village to raise a child on the autistic spectrum; relatives, siblings, therapists, and teachers, among others, and when that village is destroyed by something like a pandemic, life for individuals affected by autism can become exponentially more difficult.” “I meet with some of the most courageous parents who have children with autism and are looking for new approaches every day, and it’s so wonderful when I can assist them in opening a new door and unlocking their child’s learning potential,” she explains. (Source: Forbes)
According to the CDC, one in every 54 children in the United States has been diagnosed with autism. Autism is diagnosed in one in every 34 males and one in every 144 girls. Autism Spectrum Disorder is interpreted in various socioeconomic levels and races; autism makes no distinctions, and its causes remain unknown. As autism rates rise, mothers of autistic children need more support than ever, and there are rarely enough cost-effective resources available to them. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation further. As schools have shifted to remote learning, many therapists have resorted to zoom calls, and resources have grown scarce, adding further hardship to families of children with special needs.
According to research, some autistic youngsters gravitate toward and are drawn to technology. Robots become a non-threatening, non-judgmental peer-like entity, facilitating the child’s exploration of a new world. Additionally, this idea proves to be a lifesaver for the diligent mother raising a special needs child.
Numerous schools have used Robot-Assisted Instruction in their classrooms, and the results are remarkable. Teachers and professionals are astounded by the positive contact between the robot and the youngster. Within seconds of meeting the robot, the youngster is immediately drawn to it and excited to learn and interact.
Kebbi, one of MOVIA’s robots, was designed for use in both the home and classroom. Kebbi is an instructional robot that utilizes artificial intelligence, software, and hardware technology to display various facial expressions, body motions, and communication exchanges. Kebbi has a unique set of interactive skills that perform beautifully in a home or classroom setting, offering users a pleasant, instructive experience.
Kristen Whoolery, a Wallingford, Connecticut-based Speech-Language Pathologist using MOVIA’s RAI systems with her pupils, revealed that the robots made children with autism makes learning enjoyable and non-judgmental and anxiety-free. “It has changed my life,” she stated. “I’ve liked watching the robot engage with the students and witnessing how it’s impacted their lives.”
The company thinks that providing this service assists these unsung heroes — parents, teachers, and, of course, autistic individuals – in making their life a little bit easier.
However, it is critical never to overlook the essential contributions that working women raise special needs children to make to their families and society daily and continue moving forward constructively toward a brighter future.
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