New Google Glass apps can help autistic kids learn social
and communication skills, while also providing caregivers with feedback. The apps and hardware add-ons are being developed by Brain
Power, The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup.
The startup was founded by neuroscientist Ned T Sahin, who
did his graduate training at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute
Since the autism disorder spectrum is so wide, the company is initially
focusing on children with moderate to high-functioning autism, though it hopes
to extend its apps' capabilities to other kids.
More than 200 people have so far signed up for Brain Power's beta programme,
which will be completed in three phases next year.
Google Glass is ideal for helping kids with autism. It has an accelerometer
chip that enables head gestures, which Brain Power uses to track when kids look
or don't look at their parents, as well as stereotypy.
"In this way, we can provide numerical, objective,
repeatable assessment of a child's current behaviours, as well as progress over
time," Sahin said.
Google Glass apps: They encourage kids to interact with others and make eye
contact by presenting game-like exercises. The apps have 'social engagement
module monitors' that assess how a child engaged with parents.
The software also helps children interpret people's expressions through a
series of games. Other areas the suite will tackle include language. When a kid looks at
something through Google Glass, the object is recognized and its name is
displayed and spoken through the Glass's earbud.