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Phobot is a robot that exhibits behaviour that mimics fear and overcoming it by graded exposure. The robot was voted the public's favourite at a conference on human–robot interaction in Amsterdam. It was designed by a team of students at the University of Amsterdam, and constructed from Lego.[1] It was designed to help children deal with phobias and anxieties.


When Phobot sees a larger robot, it retreats, and spins around, making high pitched noises, seemingly in panic.[1] When it is gradually exposed to smaller robots, and is coached by holding its hands and talking to it in a soothing manner, it learns to overcome its fear.[2] This approach mimics the process of systematic desensitization, or graded exposure treatment, common in the treatment of phobias.


Phobot was built for a competition at the international conference on human-robot interaction 2008 from a Lego Mindstorms robot kit, and its behaviour implemented in the Mindstorms software.[1] It uses RFID, sound and touch sensors to interact with humans.[3] It was designed as a low cost proof of concept for an affective robot, coaching children to deal with phobias and anxieties.[2]


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