Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have come forward as the knights in shining armor for kids afflicted with autism. A software has been developed by the team at the institute, which coupled with the use of Google’s now-discontinued Glasses, has provided a solution for helping autistic kids with their communication and social skills. This has been testified by Donji Cullenbine, mother of a 9-year old autistic kid, Alex Cullenbine. The San Jose, California resident mentioned that her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 6, and nothing really worked for them in improving his condition, until Google Glass came along.
As part of a trial organized by the Stanford team, 14 kids, including Alex, were involved in the test using the Google Glass and a smartphone application. The software made by the Stanford team involves the outward-facing camera present on the glasses to work as a communication guide by reading facial expressions of other people. An earlier test conducted with a 100 kids in a laboratory setting involved an interaction with their family members. This time, however, the trial has been put to test in actuality outside the labs, and is called as Superpower Glass. The glasses record what the child is seeing and communicates it to the smartphone application, which subsequently asks the child to engage with whatever he/she is observing, using a game-like interface. The entire session is recorded on the smart-phone. The results so far have been impactful, with 12 out of 14 families reporting a massive improvement in the eye contacts of their kids. The program’s prime objective is for the program to become widely available, while also being covered by insurance.
Meanwhile, it seems that Google has bowed down to Chinese pressure by doing the very thing that made it withdraw from China in 2010. Back then, Google had to withdraw from the country, owing to the censorship and strict regulations of the Government. Last year’s interaction of Google CEO Sundar Pichai with Chinese Government officials paved way for the accelerated development of the project, named Dragonfly. A report citing Google’s internal documents and sources mentioned that the search engine would blacklist sensitive queries, while also blocking BBC News website and Wikipedia.