A new study has suggested that the use of ”smart glasses” technology along with integrated modules in socioemotional learning, can lessen symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility in individuals diagnosed with autism. A Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software company called Brain Power has developed software and artificial intelligence technologies that work with Google Glass, a brand of ”smart glasses” that contains in-built sensors, a small screen, and a bone conduction speaker to provide a private audiovisual experience with a range of assistive and educational modules. Brain Power’s Empowered Brain software, when loaded into Google Glass helps the wearer read facial expressions and emotions in real-time.
The technology has a gaming feature where the wearer receives rewards for looking individuals in the eye and for accurately identifying the predominant emotion of the targeted person. Another feature provides a soothing image or comforting sound (self-selected by the wearer in advance) to help deal with emotional stress. Unlike regular glasses, these are designed only to be worn during selected portions of the day when the individual is practicing social and emotional skills with a partner or partners (e.g. teachers, parents, friends). Since people on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable with systems (e.g. technologies) rather than people, this new wearable promises to be a winner for many kids diagnosed with autism.
For more examples of assistive technologies/Universal Design for Learning tools, see my book Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life (ASCD).