• Ten-year-old Julian Brown is one of 100 children taking part in a trial of the software (AAP)Source: AAP
New software helps children with autism read facial expressions and better their ability to recognise emotions.
Bianca Soldani

24 Jun 2016 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2016 - 11:34 AM

Having trouble reading people’s facial expressions makes social situations difficult to navigate for many children with autism.

However, new software developed by Standford University in the US is trying to improve that with their innovative facial recognition program being trialled as a behavioural aid.

Autism Glass works with Google Glass technology and uses the forward facing camera on the spectacles to read and analyse the emotional expressions on human faces.

It then effectively translates that information to the wearer in the form of a word or emoji that appears on a tiny screen over the right eye.

It records basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, fear and disgust with the information being processed via a connected iPhone. The idea is not only to aid the wearer in immediate social situations, but also help them learn for future ones by testing their abilities.

“The autism glass program is meant to teach children with autism how to understand what a face is telling them,” Dennis Wall from Standford University School of Medicine tells the Associated Press.

“And we believe that when that happens they will become more socially engaged and as a consequence of that gain confidence in social settings".

Currently 100 American children with autism are taking part in the trial with the aim of developing the product for commercial use and should it prove successful.

In Australia, 2012 figures from the Bureau of Statistics estimate that 115,400 people are living with autism.

CEO of Autism Awareness Nicole Rogerson tells SBS, "It's encouraging to see technology and innovation being used to help support learning for children on the autism spectrum.

"Reading and understanding social cues can be a huge challenge for some people with autism. Technologies like these provide a new, engaging way to help teach these skills, and when used in conjunction with quality interventions, it can open up opportunities for more social interaction and engagement."

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