Treating Autism With Google Glass

Stanford researchers are using Google Glass to help find a way to treat Autism. As Google reshapes as a medical tool for its Glass technology, children with Autism will be able to classify and recognize emotions.

In a small office under Stanford's administrative building, researchers are developing a face-tracking scheme to help treat children with autism. The Autism Glass Project was launched by the Stanford School of Medicine's Wall Lab in hopes of treating children with autism. The glass device used by the researchers has a face extraction feature that helps children with autism express facial reactions from people, or what is known as "action units."

A 100-child study would be the next phase of the said project to examine the feasibility of the project in treating children with autism at home. The software incorporated in the glass device classifies emotions based on where the child is looking. It gives the child an instant read on a person's facial expression.

However, emotions to image translation of children is one of the many obstacles of the project. Another big issue for the team is if the wearable device would be worn by the children. Although, researchers said that the device is not meant to be a prosthesis for children with autism.

Stanford launched the first phase of this project last year in an effort to understand how the device would work out, Wired reported. This involved 40 studies and was conducted under Stanford's Wall Lab. The study was initially slow-paced as the school had access to only one Google Glass console at that time. When Google found out about the research, the company donated 35 Google Glasses and with it, a donation of US$379,408 from the Packard Foundation granting the project early this June.

A quantitative phenotype of Autism is developed by monitoring how the project will perform,  which are physical manifestations and mathematical calculations of autism. Over time, researchers can develop this and preview how the device help in treating autism through facial recognition.

Although the second phase of the Autism Glass project could take longer, the project will allow the involvement of the parents as part of the treatment process. Children with autism will be required to wear their Google Glasses 20 minutes three times a day, with it an analysis of Stanford's researchers in developing and understanding the role of visual engagement as part of the project's detection process on emotions and facial expressions will also be monitored.

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