As we continue to develop new ways to help children and people on the spectrum learn life skills, there has been a general consensus that technology has the potential to overcome many of the challenges they face. Ned Sahin, neuroscientist, neurotechnology entrepreneur, and founder of Brain Power is making waves with his new idea of using Google Glasses to navigate the world. The glasses are being engineered to help children on the spectrum with social skills such as engaging in conversation, reading social cues, and encouraging eye contact.
The glasses allow the child to see the person they are interacting with and places an emoticon or icon that illustrates what that person is feeling next to their face. For example, if someone is smiling at them, they will see a smiley face that they will come to associate with happiness, and thus be able to react appropriately. Another aspect of the glasses allow the child to choose what they person is feeling from two icons that appear on the glass, earning them points that encourage them to engage in this game of face and emotion associations.
Dr. Sahin says, “I wanted to do something that would impact people in their daily lives. There was a huge unmet need here. it was staggering when I realized how little progress we’ve made in autism…Parents tell me, ‘I just wish my child could look me in the eye. I wish my child could understand what I’m thinking…what I’m feeling.’ And we’re giving them that.”
While IPads are also useful for providing similar programs, the google glasses are unique because they allow the child to actually look up or towards the person they are interacting with. The glasses also track how many times the child looks at the person who is trying to get their attention by using a motion sensor. Even Dr. Martha Herbert, pediatric neurologist and brain development researcher, says, “That’s the beauty of this device…It tracks multiple things over time so you can get real data about how things are improving.”
To read more about using google glasses to help children on the spectrum, click HERE