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
MAR 08, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 08, 2020
Rats May Not Like Hurting Other Rats
People generally avoid hurting others because they feel a sense of empathy, which is the ability to share or understand ...
MAR 11, 2020
Neuroscience
MAR 11, 2020
Categories of Memory Work Together to Form Abstract Thought
Indiana University New research from the University of Trento shows how areas of the brain work to recall complex semant ...
APR 07, 2020
Neuroscience
APR 07, 2020
Creativity Comes from Right and Left Brain Hemispheres
Not all neuroscientists agree that creativity comes from the brain’s right hemisphere, while analytical and logica ...
APR 15, 2020
Neuroscience
APR 15, 2020
How Magic Mushrooms Restructure the Brain
For some time now, researchers have suspected that psilocybin, the hallucinogen chemical present in ‘magic mushroo ...
APR 25, 2020
Cardiology
APR 25, 2020
Young People with COVID-19 Die from Stroke
Hospitals around the US have reported that people aged between 20 and 50 with no risk factors are dying from strokes aft ...
APR 25, 2020
Neuroscience
APR 25, 2020
Autoimmune Protein May Cause OCD
Researchers from Queen Mary University in London have discovered a specific autoimmune protein that may cause OCD-relate ...
Loading Comments...