Can Technology Substitute A Therapist?


According to the latest news and statistics, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States. While scientists are trying to find out the causes of autism, parents and families around the world are trying new therapies and looking for new ways to improve the condition of their children.

Early intervention and behavioral therapy is the key but, unfortunately, not every family can afford therapists’ services and they usually have to wait  months for help. Nevertheless, recently a team from Stanford University created a therapy device for children with autism that could be used at home. It’s called the Autism Glass Project and runs on Google Glass. It uses facial recognition software that reads facial expressions and gives users a better understanding of what emotion they are seeing. The program runs on a smartphone also, so there is an option to record the sessions.

When the device’s camera detects an emotion such as happiness or sadness, the patient sees a color or a corresponding “emoji” flash on the glass display indicating which emotion he is seeing.

Catalin Voss is the founder of the Autism Glass Project. He said that usually therapists use flashcards for typical behavioral therapy, “But that doesn’t always translate to real-life situations,” he said. “Our idea was to try to build a more holistic aid that enables the user to recognize social cues when they actually need to receive those cues right then and there.”

The project has been in development for 2 years, and has been tested on more than 100 children with autism. The group recently gave the device to 24 families for in-home trials. However, another problem arose – Google stopped production of the hardware and it’s unknown if they will renew it’s production.

According to the recent reports of the project, families, who were using this technology, noticed drastic improvement in as less as 2 months!

We hope that trials will show us great results and Google will continue production of Google Glasses or Autism Glass Project will be able to use the software with Oculus.

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