I'm sure that you know Google is one of the leading tech companies in the world. The company sprung onto the scene nearly 20 years ago when it rolled out as a search engine. Its search function is so popular it's become part of our vernacular. Instead of telling you to do an internet search for something, people now just say "Google it."
But Google is so much more than just a search engine. It's created some very popular products that are used constantly. Google Maps, Chrome browser, Gmail, and Google Drive to name a few.
One of its less popular items that didn't do so well is Google Glass. However, it might have finally found its place in the world helping kids with autism.
Technology helping children with autism
There is a new app that pairs with Google Glass headsets that works with facial recognition software. It gives the user real-time updates on people's emotional expressions. This is particularly helpful for parents of children with autism, and the children themselves.
A recent trial program administered by Stanford University School of Medicine, called Superpower Glass, had 14 kids with autism spectrum disorder use Google Glass over a 10-week period. A team of researchers at Stanford developed software that works with the outward-facing camera on the glasses to read facial expressions.
Families who took part in the test were able to take the software home along with Google Glass. Here's how it works: the glasses record what the kids are seeing and send that information to the app. The children are then prompted to engage with what they're seeing while it records the session data.
It has a game-like interface, which motivates the kids to engage with people's faces and emotions. It also gives them positive reinforcement when they do.
The children showed marked improvement in social skills, including increased eye contact and a better understanding of facial expressions.
Until now, kids with autism needed therapy to improve their social skills. Sometimes they would have to be put on a waiting list for up to 18 months before beginning therapy.
This new Google Glass program offers kids with autism at-home, on-demand behavioral therapy. There is still more work to do but the initial results are encouraging. Just another great way that technology is enabling people to cope with serious medical issues, right in their own home.
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