The task of child engagement estimation when interacting with a social robot during a special educational procedure is studied. A multimodal machine learning-based methodology for estimating the engagement of the children with learning difficulties, participating in appropriate designed educational scenarios, is proposed. For this purpose, visual and audio data are gathered during the child-robot interaction and processed towards deciding an engaged state of the child or not. Six single and three ensemble machine learning models are examined for their accuracy in providing confident decisions on in-house developed data. The conducted experiments revealed that, using multimodal data and the AdaBoost Decision Tree ensemble model, the children’s engagement can be estimated with 93.33% accuracy. Moreover, an important outcome of this study is the need for explicitly defining the different engagement meanings for each scenario. The results are very promising and put ahead of the research for closed-loop human centric special education activities using social robots.


G. A. Papakostas, G. K. Sidiropoulos, C. Lytridis, C. Bazinas, V. G. Kaburlasos, E. Kourampa, E. Karageorgiou, P. Kechayas, M. T. Papadopoulou, “Estimating children engagement interacting with robots in special education using machine learning”, Mathematical Problems in Engineering, Special Issue on “Recent Trends in Advance Robotic Systems”, vol. 2021, Article ID 9955212, https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9955212

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