University uses Google Glass to help children with autism understand emotion

A team at Stanford University are using “Google Glass” to help children with autism better understand emotion.

The technology, called the Autism Glass Project, uses facial recognition software and operates on Google’s head-mounted glasses.

Catalin Voss, founder of the Autism Glass Project, said that typical behavioural therapy teaches children emotions by using flashcards.

“But that doesn’t always translate to real-life situations. Our idea was to try to build a more holistic aid that enables the user to recognize social cues when they actually need to receive those cues right then and there.”

The project has been in development for around two years, and has been tested on more than 100 children with autism.

Ronny Yang, from Saratoga, California, said she saw immediate improvements in her 16-year-old autistic son, Justin.

Justin would wear the device each day for short periods where he would interact with family members face to face. The device will record whoever Justin is speaking to, translate their current emotion into a corresponding colour or emoji, and then flash it on the glass display.

Google donated 35 Google Glass headsets to Stanford for the project, but the team has since set their sights on more readily available augmented reality hardware.

Ms Voss said the goal is to make something that can reach families at large in areas where wait times for behavioural therapists are extreme.