MedGizmo - Autism Wearables and Applications - MedGizmo Overview
24.11.2015, 11:18   MedGizmo

Autism Wearables and Applications - Part 1 of MedGizmo Overview

This is the first part of the post. The second part with wearable devices and applications is HERE.

One of the acute issues in Healthcare is Autism (and its milder form, Asperger Syndrome - Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Just Google ‘autism’ and you will get about 70,000,000 hits. And it is increasing at a very high pace. As per CDC reports , the rate of  ASD in  the  United  States  has  risen  to  its  highest  level  in  recent decades; child autism rate now one in 45.
Around half a million people have these in the UK.
Many people with autism are living a normal social life, however, autism is characterized by communications and social skills impairments. Usually, individuals with autism exhibit problems when initiating and terminating interactions, learning the interests of others, and joining social groups. Adults tend to become more isolated from their social world, as the interactions just become too difficult and stressful for them: they are trying to survive, however, it requires  a lot of mental energy - and as a result, there is a decrease in motivation to interact. They become isolated from other members of society and it is getting worse with age.
Here is one of the recent examples that describe the situation: I'm scared to be an older person with autism
Moreover Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. This test asks you to say how much you agree with a series of statements. Note: The test is not diagnostic, which means that even if you score over 32, it doesn't mean you've definitely got Autism or Asperger Syndrome. Many people who score highly and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.


Autism is described as a wide spectrum of cases that are severe across several different groups of symptoms. Those who have mild symptoms can live relatively well, whereas those most severely affected often require 24-hour care.
Now, let us have a look what IT IS to be an autistic person in a high-tech world.
People working in science and engineering jobs are more likely to have autistic-like behaviors than less technical professions according to a nationwide experiment involving nearly half a million members of the public – which also confirmed that men tend to be more autistic than women. The Cambridge researchers believe that autistic traits are linked to both sex and to having a “systems-thinking mind”, which could explain the why many people working in Silicon Valley and related high-tech occupations tend to exhibit more autistic-like behavior than the wider population.
The widely cited paper in THE FORBES A New Business Model for Autism points out that new approach to autistic people emerged – employ them extensively. And sure enough, there are these news developments:
  • Microsoft announces pilot program to hire people with autism
  • Another FORBES paper : The Best Tech Jobs For Individuals With Autism
  • That points good occupational choices: Equipment Designer, Computer Repair, Web Site Design, Computer Graphics / Animation, Auto Mechanic, Drafting, Computer Programming,    Engineering, Laboratory technician, Statistician, Physicist or Mathematician, Data Entry.
  • It had been noticed that there has been a less well-publicized, yet emerging trend: technology companies big and small have been stepping forward to focus their resources on projects to help individuals with autism. The growing number of people now diagnosed with autism has generated huge demand for technology, products, and other services to help support their needs.
  • So, it is quite natural that all these groups are now actively engaged in design and production of wearables and applications that help autistic people. Besides others, there are two major areas that are being addressed: helping with social interaction and communication; and avoidance of tendency to fixate on limited interests and repetitive behaviors.

Note, that we do not claim to be a comprehensive source for all recent developments, however, we strive to provide the most attention-grabbing ones (from our point of views), as well as reference to some basic theory articles.

Brain Power and Dr. Ned Sahin, CEO are one of the most competent sources of information on the subject. The company uses wearable computers to help autistic kids.
“We build brain science-driven software to transform wearables like Google Glass™ into neuro-assistive devices for autism. Our tools help children and adults with autism learn practical life skills, and assess their progress numerically. Quick example of two of our apps (we have more than a dozen). These focus on emotion decoding.”
Watch this presentation delivered by Dr. Ned Sahin that talks about the importance of transforming “wearables,” such as Google Glass, into assistive devices for individuals with autism. Wearable Technology and Autism

Janssen R&D Autism Knowledge Engine, this first-of-its-kind, digital, integrated system is designed to facilitate research and clinical trials for the development of novel medicines, which may ultimately help patients living with ASD

Janssen’s Autism Knowledge Engine is designed for children with autism, their families and care teams. Its integrated electronic health record system uses Microsoft HealthVault to track a wide range of symptoms and provide detailed information on a child’s medical history and developmental milestones. It emphasizes communication between care providers via the web and mobile apps. It is also designed to help identify subgroups of children who might best benefit from clinical studies of promising new treatments. It even integrates wearable biosensors that can record autism-related symptoms and body responses at home as well as in a clinical setting. These biosensors are designed to provide objective measures of symptoms in ways that will improve assessment of treatment benefits.
Autism Knowledge Engine Wins Microsoft HUG Award

This concludes the first part. In our second part we will look at some latest wearable devices and applications for autistic people
24.11.2015, 11:18   MedGizmo
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