OPEN Research Support

Psychology student
Nadia Rønn Nørgaard
Child- and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatry in the Region of Southern Denmark

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.02.2018  
Slut 01.07.2022  

Psychiatric Live Animotion Intervention

Short summary

Recently an innovative animation concept, based on motion capture technology, has been developed: A therapist puts on a motion capture suit that registers every movement of the body and transfers them to an animated character in a virtual world. The animated character is streamed to the individual's tablet at home and a live recording of the individual is projected back to the therapist. This enables a direct interaction between a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and an animated character. It is hypothesized that the animated character may encourage and stimulate communication and social interaction in children with ASD by providing an interesting and playful universe recognizable from computer games and films.\n


Only few interventions have been developed for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)  even though the importance of early intervention  is recognized by researchers and clinicians. Further, the use of animation in interventions for individuals with ASD is particular interesting because they demonstrate a preference for robot-like characteristics in toys compared to nonrobotic toys. Also it has been found that they display more eye contact to cartoons compared to humans, and that they are more responsive to social feedback when the intervention is administered via technology.


Robot interventions have shown positive effects with attainment regarding increased gaze and engagement in individuals with ASD. However, some disadvantages have been noted; robots are fragile and a therapist is required to guide the robot-child interaction during the interventions and to avoid harms. Also, robots are not able to monitor and respond to the individual's social initiatives in the same way as humans, they are often expensive and may suffer from latency during interaction.              


Telepsyciatric treatments can be a way to diminish the methodological and technological limitations seen in robot interventions. Telepsyciatric interventions have proven successful in individuals with other psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression and anxiety) and have shown the equal effect as face-to-face therapy, but with lower socioeconomic costs (reduced travel time and costs for both patients and clinicians) and better accessibility. To explore the effects of telepsyciatry in children with ASD, the Danish company Rokoko has developed a new and innovative animation concept - called 'Animotion'. This technology enables a direct interaction between a human being and an animated character played by a therapist.


This study examines the impact of a Psychiatric Live Animotion Intervention (PLAI) to young children with ASD. The aim is to create a fundament for positive behavioral development in young children with ASD through several direct encounters with a therapist represented as an animated character. 


Description of the cohort

Approximately 40 children between the ages of 3-6 years with an ASD according to the DSM-5 criteria and verified by Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) will be randomly assigned to either the intervention (PLAI) or Treatment as Usual (TAU).\n

Data and biological material

The effectiveness of the PLAI in improving social, behavioural, and communicative outcomes will be assessed by parent- and daycare-rated questionnaires and two different parent interviews. Data is collected for both the TAU group and PLAI group at three different time points: T0 = baseline, T1= 10 weeks post baseline and T3 = 22 weeks post baseline. Also, quantitative data will be collected for the PLAI group during sessions.



Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Odense, Research Unit

  • Stud. Psych. Nadia Rønn Nørgaard

Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Odense, Research Unit

  • Cand. Psych. Cathriona Cantio, PhD

Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Odense, Research Unit

  • Professor Niels Bilenberg, MD, PhD