Children suffering from Autism can now read facial expressions using Google Glass paired with a smartphone app that helps decipher emotions of the people around them in real time, a study explains.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, the "Superpower Glass" acts as a messenger and interpreter, with the app helping kids to classify the expressions that look on the faces they see. A green light flashes when kids look at a face, and then the app uses emojis to tell kids what emotion is in front of them, whether it’s happy or angry or scared or surprised.
“Children learn to seek out social interactions, learn that faces are interesting, and that they can learn what they’re saying or what the faces are telling them,” said senior study author Dennis Wall of Stanford University in California.
“This is powerful since it encourages social initiations - a form of fostering social motivation - by the child and they’re learning that they can get these things - the emotions of their social partners- themselves,” Wall said by email.
“Facial expressions are complex, dynamic, and unique,” said Geraldine Dawson, director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development in Durham, North Carolina.
“Emojis are much simpler, static stimuli,” Dawson, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “It makes sense that emojis would be easier for a person with autism to understand.”
“Together these elements of the intervention enable real-life learning,” Wall said.
“The use of technology for autism screening and treatment is still a relatively new area of study, and we have much to learn,” Dawson said.
“This approach holds much promise,” Dawson added. “But more research is needed to understand whether “Superpower Glass” is feasible in real world settings, how many families would choose to use it, and its impact on social skills in children with autism.”