Technology for Autism

Can Google glass teach emotional reading skills for people with Autism.

Teaching non verbal communication skills is really hard can technology help us in the real world ?

Communication is reported by Mehrabian of being 7% verbal and 93% non verbal. Often the focus for communication training for people with communication delays is verbal communication. Speech therapists find ways to teach verbal communication skills. Traditional teaching methodologies assume that the non verbal elements of communication will just come naturally.

The elephant in the room might be the non verbal elements of communication which for some do not just come naturally and which so many struggle with. Often this is overlooked by professionals.

What if there was a way via artificial intelligence and to give visual and audio prompts to those struggling with non verbal communication at the exact moment that it is required? Could this be a way to train the user what to look for in a consistent way? Without the use of a 1 to 1 trainer until the point that they could do this automatically without prompting.

A study from Stanford University aims to do exactly that. They have paired Google Glass with a smart phone app to help train reading human emotions via playing games using the glass. The results are promising. (More information found here)

When Google Glass launched in 2013 its fair to say it didn’t go down as a great success. Google relaunched the second generation of the glass on the 24th May 2019 to be used as a business tool. This may mean that projects like those from Stanford University and others could pose a real opportunity to create a tool for helping people with autism.

Empowered brain

Another entry in this space seeking to use the Google Glass to support Autistic students is start up Brain-power whose product “Empowered Brain” offers a augmented-reality system for autism, running on the new version of Google Glass (aka Enterprise Edition). Users see the world in a different way through the computer screen, and they remain heads-up to engage with you and others.

mean percentage change in post intervention ABC subscale score relative to control
Users of the Brain-power google glass tool saw a decrease in irritability, hyperactivity and social withdrawal.

The child or adult wears light, computerised glasses and sees and hears special feedback geared to the situation. For instance, digital coaching on facial expressions of emotions, when to look at people, feedback on the user’s own state of stress or anxiety, and much more. Empower Me gives an augmented-reality experience, which their tests show autistic users LOVE. Meanwhile, they get points and rewards for learning the social-emotional as well as cognitive skills they want.

What do you think? does the Google glass pose an interesting opportunity to help some people with autism decode non verbal communication ? Would you give it a try to see if it helped you or your child ?

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