Autism is a neurological disorder which minimizes the ability of someone to communicate and relate to others in social situations since it is more difficult for them to understand other people’s emotions. Autism is normally associated with repetitive and obsessive behaviours. According to the organisation ´Autism speaks´, 1 in 68 people are currently diagnosed with autism, making it more common than cancer, diabetes and AIDS put together.
Although different treatments and therapies to fight this condition do exist, there still isn’t a cure to improve the life conditions of those on the autistic spectrum. As the founder and CEO of Brain Power, Dr. Ned Sahin states, up until now there haven’t been many solutions to help those with autism; instead, they have to accept it and learn how to deal with it. Brain Power is a system which uses augmented reality with apps to enhance their experiences and give them a better understanding of the world they live in.
Sahin is a neuroscientist whose experience includes MIT, Williams, Oxford, Harvard and UCSP. He has combined his in-depth research about autism with augmented reality to make social and emotional learning apps. One of these applications is ´Empower Me´, which acts as a personal mentor, letting those with autism learn about social interactions and how to judge emotions by using Google Glasses.
´Empower me´ uses a digital layer which helps them to understand and empathise the expressions and emotions of other people; this way, those on the autistic spectrum can relate a smile to a good mood, crying with sadness or happiness, and so on. Furthermore, the system uses a game which encourages them to make eye contact with the person they are playing with. They are then given a score, and the more they maintain it, the more points they can achieve.
What’s really important about this system is that is collects data on a regular basis to monitor progress and development. ´Empower Me´ tackles different aspects of autism, the main ones being social interactions, language, behaviour control and work skills, and it can be adapted to each individual to make sure that it is carefully customized to their needs.
According to the families of those with autism, the augmented reality system is truly transforming and is having a strong impact on their lives. Here at Arvolution, we admire all uses of AR which can provide real world solutions. Above all, we are looking to generate an impact to make the world a better place.
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