March 1, 2022

Best Abstract Award
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The extended abstracted accepted and presented in the 4th Doctoral Congress in Engineering at University of Porto, with the title "A hybrid supervised approach for human robot interaction with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder", won the BEST ABSTRACT AWARD.

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March 26, 2020

Programa Erasmus Europeu I.D.E.A.! – Visita do Agrupamento de Escolas Aver-O-Mar
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No âmbito do programa europeu , projeto de partilha de boas práticas no que concerne a inclusão de alunos com deficiência,  uma comitiva do Agrupamento de Escolas Aver-O-Mar com representantes de escolas e institutos europeus (da Polônia, Turquia e Estônia) assistiram à apresentação do Projeto Autismo-Robótica...

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January 6, 2019

DN_Insider: Robótica em Portugal: “Olá, sou um robô, estou aqui para mudar a sua vida”
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A 380 km de Oeiras, na Universidade do Minho, há também um projeto de robótica afetiva com crianças com autismo que já passou a fase de testes. O robô Zeca foi pioneiro em Portugal e testado em escolas e clínicas de Braga, Porto e Aveiro. O robô em si é o pequeno modelo Zeno R50, da Hanson Robotics,...

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Recent Publications
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(2021) “Fostering emotion recognition in children with autism spectrum disorder.” Published in Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 5(10) - by V. Silva, F. O. Soares, C. P. Leão, J. S. Esteves, and G. Vercelli.

(2021) “Skeleton driven action recognition using an image-based spatial-temporal representation and convolution neural network.” Published in Sensors, 21(13) - by V. Silva, F. O. Soares, J. S. Esteves, C. P. Santos, and A. P. Pereira.

Proceedings and Book Chapters:

(2022)  “ HiZeca: A Serious Game for Emotions Recognition.” Published as Book Chapter in: Innovations in Mechatronics Engineering (pp. 393–405) 2022. Springer, Cham by Santos, P., Silva, V., Sena Esteves, J., Pereira, A. P., & Soares, F.

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Social Interaction

Social interaction is a building block of society. Through verbal and no-verbal behaviours, people communicate their intend. The lack of this skill is mostly present in individuals with ASD.




Emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behaviour. For children with ASD the process of recognition and displaying emotions is a very difficult task.


Generalisation is the ability to apply a certain knowledge to a different context different from the one it occurred. Children with ASD show impairments related to this ability.


The Project

Robótica-Autismo Project started in 2009 from a partnership between University of Minho (UM) and APPACDM of Braga (Portuguese Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Citizens).
This research project wants to use robots to improve social life of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In particular, the aim is to improve the skills of interaction, communication, and emotion recognition with the environment and with others.

Several worldwide researchers have been dedicated to the study of the influence of the use of robots in the development of cognitive and behavioral skills in children with ASD. However, we are still at an early stage of research and we are still trying to understand which are the most adequate and effective characteristics of the robots to interact with this specific target group.
Currently, there are being designed and studied new ways to interact with children with ASD at school age, using robots with greater capabilities. Know more about the project here.


A robotic project of portuguese genesis at the service of autism coordinated by the researcher Filomena Soares. Founded in 2009, from the result of a partnership between the University of Minho (UM) and the Portuguese Association of Parents and Friends of the Mentally Deficient Citizen (APPACDM), consists in the use of robotic platforms as promoters of social interaction with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It started by using the robotic platform LEGO NXT Mindstorms™ as an intervention tool in sessions with children with ASD. Nowadays, the research team is more focused on developing interactive tools with ZECA (Zeno Engaging Children with Autism) which is a robotic platform that is capable of expressing emotions.

ZECA - Zeno Engaging Children with ASD

Need more information?

PS: If you want more information on this project contact us via e-mail: