Developed by neuroscientists and doctors from MIT and Harvard, the Empowered Brain system is an electronic coach that empowers children and adults along the autism spectrum. With the combination of wearables and apps, Empower Brain focuses on life skills such as language, emotional understanding, eye contact, control of behaviors, conversation skills, meltdown prevention, self-confidence, and more.
With the Google Glass wearable, individuals can still see the world around them, yet also see and hear ongoing social apps. This helps ensure the user is looking at the actual world, rather than looking down at a screen.
One of the apps is called Emotion Charades, where the autistic adult or child sees an emoji floating on either side of the person they are talking to. Then the child or adult tilts his/her head to choose the emoji that matches the person’s facial expression for a reward. Simultaneously, the software monitors his/her performance and anxiety or stress level.
The user is not expected to wear the system all day long, but instead use it as a lesson in short spurts of time.
“We aim to help people with autism be understood, not cured; accepted, not isolated; empowered, not forced. We aim to ‘empower every brain,’” the company said.
Currently, three of the apps have gone through clinical trials, and pertain to decoding emotions, looking at people when they speak, and managing stress and anxiety levels. Empowered brain hopes to continue updating and integrating new apps.