A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2019 | Number 2, Volume 33

Wearable AI-driven device helps children with ASD master social skills

A wearable artificial intelligence-driven device can improve the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a new study. 

Catalin Voss and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of Superpower Glass, a Google Glass-based device that uses a computer vision system wirelessly connected to a smartphone app. The system tracks faces and classifies the emotions people are experiencing, providing emoticons and audio cues to help children develop social skills. It also includes two games, “guess the emotion”(in which children try to determine which emotion a person is exhibiting) and “capture the smile” (in which children try to elicit an emotion from another person—for instance, by telling a joke to make the person smile). 

Enrolling 71 young children with ASD in their study, the researchers randomly assigned 40 children to receive the glasses and 31 to act as controls. Both groups of children continued to receive applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy. The researchers asked participants and their caregivers or therapists to use the glasses for 20 minutes four times a week for six weeks, although participants averaged only half the recommended days of use.

The researchers say that compared to controls, the children using the glasses showed significant improvements on the Vineland Adaptive Behaviors Scale socialization sub-scale. They also showed improvements in several other measures of social skills, but these did not reach significance. 

The researchers say, “Overall, these results support the hypothesis that the Superpower Glass intervention can improve social skills of children with ASD between the ages of 6 and 12 years as an augmentation to standard of care therapy.”


“Effect of wearable digital intervention for improving socialization in children with autism spectrum disorder: a randomized clinical trial,” Catalin Voss, Jessey Schwartz, Jena Daniels, AaronKline, Nick Haber, Peter Washington, QandeelTariq, Thomas N. Robinson, Manisha Desai, Jennifer M. Phillips, Carl Feinstein, Terry Winograd, and Dennis P. Wall, JAMA Pediatrics, March 25, 2019 (free online). Address: Dennis P. Wall, Department of Pediatrics, Division of SystemsMedicine, Stanford University, 1265 Welch Road, Medical School Office Bldg. x14, Stanford, CA94305,[email protected].


“Digital intervention ups socialization in children with autism,” Medical Xpress, March 26, 2019.