NOV 12, 2015 4:55 AM PST

Autism Tech: Google Glass and a Brain Game

Children diagnosed with autism often have a very difficult time reading social cues. They are not always able to tell what a person is feeling based on their facial expressions. Most people can look at someone laughing and know they are happy, or look at someone frowning and know that person is angry or upset. Children on the autism spectrum do not that have innate ability and it’s harder for them to decode these cues.
 
Stanford researchers are looking to Google Glass for autism therapy

Naturally this interferes with the ability to form friendships and navigate school and social situations. Specialists who work with these children spend time with drawings of facial expressions and explaining what each means. Inclusion therapy in classrooms where there are autistic children includes role playing, story telling and other social exercises to help those on the spectrum be a part of their environment.  Now it appears that some high tech could also help.
 
Google Glass, the futuristic computer equipped glasses are now being studied at the Stanford School of Medicine to see if they can be used as an aide to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The Austism Glass Project  is now in it’s second phase of research.  The first phase involved building software for the Google Glass that could track facial expressions, read the emotion being expressed and flash on the lens of the Google Glass “happy”, “sad” or “surprised” for the wearer to read.
 
Catalin Voss, a computer science whiz and Stanford Innovator in Residence  initially developed the software and tested it in the first phase and now the team at the Wall Lab at the Stanford University School of Medicine  will be testing it on 100 children enrolled in the second phase.
 
Nick Haber, one of the lead scientists on the project spoke to Techcrunch and talked about the challenges in making sure the device helped children learn and didn’t become a “prosthesis.”  Haber said “ensuring the device’s use led to measurable learning when the children were no longer on the device” was the reason the second phase involved a game that the children would play to insure they interacted with their surroundings and didn’t just rely on the glass output to tell them what was going on. The team will used a game developed at MIT called “Capture the Smile” and along with the game results, parental questionaires and video analyses the team hopes to build a “phenotype” of autism for each child in the study.

The study will only have the children wearing the Google Glass devices for three 20 minute periods per day, but the data collected in these sessions will help researchers analyze what the children are looking at and how their eyes track around their environment. Check out the video below for an interview with lab founder Dennis Wall. He explains how the device can be used to study eye tracking and assist children in decoding facial expressions and other social cues.
 
 
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 15, 2021
Neuroscience
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
JUL 15, 2021
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
Just like humans, rats tend to help members of their own social group before strangers. The findings may help researcher ...
JUL 16, 2021
Coronavirus
Focusing on the Cause of Neurological Symptoms of COVID-19
JUL 16, 2021
Focusing on the Cause of Neurological Symptoms of COVID-19
We now know that COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms. Some of these problems are taking months to clear up in patient ...
AUG 01, 2021
Technology
Actually, You DO Know You Are a Brain in a Vat: Exoskeleton Pros and Cons
AUG 01, 2021
Actually, You DO Know You Are a Brain in a Vat: Exoskeleton Pros and Cons
Exoskeletons promise mobility and enhance strength, but a new study shows they can be debilitating for the brain
AUG 15, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Diabetes Drug May Reduce Alzheimer's Risk
AUG 15, 2021
Diabetes Drug May Reduce Alzheimer's Risk
People who take a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes have less amyloid-beta in their brains, a bio ...
AUG 23, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Conductor of the Circadian Rhythm is Identified
AUG 23, 2021
A Conductor of the Circadian Rhythm is Identified
The daily cycle of the planet is reflected in the biology of plants and animals. Even our cells are influenced by what&# ...
SEP 15, 2021
Neuroscience
Motor Cortex Involved in Vocabulary Learning
SEP 15, 2021
Motor Cortex Involved in Vocabulary Learning
The motor cortex, the part of the brain involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements, may pla ...
Loading Comments...