Sorry, haters. Google Glass is not dead yet. When it made an entry in the market in 2013, it may not have lived up to the hype. The gadget which promised to perform everything that a smartphone could (and a “wearable” phone at that), soon became buggy and unwelcome in public spaces.
But now, more and more researchers are finding newer ways to use the artificial intelligence-based wearable device. Among the notable experiments is the use of Google Glass to help people with autism.
Brain Power, a US-based company has been working with AR-based devices to help persons with autism gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a condition characterised when persons are faced with challenges in social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. There is not one autism but many types of autism, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. Reports have suggested that there are about 70 million people with autism across the globe — including over 10 million in India.
Dr Ned Sahin, Founder and CEO of Brain Power, told a newswire, “We need families and schools to support the first wave of technology for autism and special school communities… We can customise our Google Glass-based applications for autistic people in India.”
This is how Brain Power uses Google Glass to help persons with Autism:
- The child or adult wears light, computerised glasses and sees and hears special feedback geared to the situation.
- For instance, digital coaching on facial expressions of emotions, when to look at people, feedback on the user’s own state of stress or anxiety.
- Brain Power’s wearable system named ‘Empower Me’ gives an augmented-reality experience, which shows autistic users expressions such as love.
- Meanwhile, they get points and rewards for learning the social-emotional as well as cognitive skills they want.
Brain Power explained the internal working of their product, stating, “Each software module connects to Brain Power’s cloud-hosted portal where AI algorithms produce insights and predictions in real time. The game-like apps collect numerical behavioural data, scientifically and rigorously, and present the child, family, school, or clinic with insights and answers they can readily understand. These come in the form of intuitive graphs, auto-generated IEP reports, and much more.”