You may have heard about Google’s wearable tech, Google Glass, which never managed to gain popularity and so the project was later abandoned. Although Google halted production of these high tech glasses, Stanford University researchers may have found a way to use Google Glass to help children with autism to better understand other people’s emotions, feelings and facial expressions.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a neurological disorder, is defined by a wide range of symptoms including not having the capacity to understand other people's emotions, identifying feelings or being able to initiate or participate in long conversations.
While many children suffering from autism participate in therapy to help them better understand their own feelings, as well as the feelings and emotional responses of others, many of the current techniques haven’t been largely effective, or tend to be very costly. A few of the current therapy options to help children with autism better understand feelings include picture cards, Social Stories, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), play therapy and even online games.
How Modern Technology May Be Able to Help
We live in a wonderful world where technology can be utilized for so many things. Sometimes gadgets are created for pure fun, other times these gadgets can also be used to improve one's life. For example, there is a wearable device that can help individuals with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels. Click here to read more about it.
This is what researchers at Stanford University are working to accomplish. With facial recognition software developed to be used in conjunction with Google Glass, researchers hope to aid autistic children with recognizing facial expressions to better understand other people’s feelings.
Stanford is currently testing the new software in a study with 100 participants who all suffer from autism. Their software can record and study faces and facial expressions in real time and then alert the wearer to the emotions they’re expressing. The study aims to help autistic children socialize by helping them better identify how others are feeling so they're able to communicate with them more effectively.
The technology is still in the testing phrase, but the Stanford team is hopeful that they can create an affordable and convenient therapy that families can use at home. If the study shows positive results, the technology could become commercially available within a couple years.