Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

HCC: Collaborative research: Social-emotional technologies for autism spectrum disorders  

This project is a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory and the Groden Center to develop and evaluate wearable social-emotional technology that helps individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome acquire an affinity for the social domain and improve their overall social abilities. The project will develop the first wearable camera system capable of perceiving and visualizing social-emotional information in real-time human interaction. Using a small wearable camera and video-pattern analysis algorithms, the system analyzes video of the wearer or interaction partner and tags it at multiple granularities (facial actions, communicative facial or head gestures, and emotions). The wearable system aims to: (1) facilitate learning and systemizing of social-emotional cues; (2) promote self-reflection and perspective-taking; (3) allow wearers to study subtle nonverbal cues and share experiences with peers, family members, and caregivers; and (4) contribute new computational models and theories of social-emotional intelligence in machines. A clinical study will compare the efficacy of the wearable system to current gold standard interventions for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A participatory approach to the co-design and use of technology draws on the experiences of individuals with ASD and their solutions to systematizing social interactions, thereby empowering them to enhance their relationships, while participating in the development of next-generation social-emotional intelligent technologies. The project will make significant contributions to the difficult challenge of developing machine intelligence that is robust at handling human social interaction. When people or machines fail to perceive, understand, and act on social-emotional cues they are hindered in their ability to interact with and learn from others. The results of this interdisciplinary work can be leveraged in human-computer interaction, robotics, and technologies with social-emotional intelligence. The research will also provide investigators with a new tool to study nonverbal communication outside of laboratory settings. This project brings together the overlapping and converging goals and challenges of autism research and affective computing, both already interdisciplinary in nature, and demonstrates how a collaboration could lead to several mutually beneficial outcomes, from developing new tools to assist people with ASD in understanding and functioning in the social-emotional world, to developing new computational models and theories that enable technology to provide an overall better experience to those who use it. This work also promotes the training and education of students and people with ASD by involving them in cutting-edge scientific research. Project Status
ONGOING

2010

Funder National Science Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $46,086.50
Current Award Period 2007-2011
Project Number 705508
Principal Investigator Goodwin, Matthew
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Technology-Based Interventions and Supports
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4SF. Launch five randomized controlled trials of interventions including biological signatures and other measures to predict response, and monitor quality of life and functional outcomes, in each of the following groups:
  • Five trials in infants and toddlers by 2013. IACC Recommended Budget: $30,000,000 over 5 years.
  • Three randomized controlled trials of interventions for school-aged children and/or adolescents by 2013. IACC Recommended Budget: $18,000,000 over 5 years.
  • Three trials for adults by 2014. IACC Recommended Budget: $18,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution The Groden Center, Inc.
State/Country Rhode Island
Web Link 1 HCC: Collaborative research: Social-emotional technologies for autism spectrum disorders (External web link)
Web Link 2 HCC: Collaborative research: Social-emotional technologies for autism spectrum disorders (External web link)
Web Link 3 HCC: Collaborative research: Social-emotional technologies for autism spectrum disorders (External web link)
New! History/Related Projects HCC: Collaborative research: Social-emotional technologies for autism spectrum disorders | $175,362.25 | 2010 | 705647