App for Google Glass

Can technology help children with autism accomplish what other educational efforts have not? Ned Sahin aims to find out.

Sahin founded Brain Power, a Cambridge startup that is using Google Glass to teach children with autism how to better engage and socialize with people. Brain Power is developing applications that display images of popular cartoon characters on the screen of Google Glass, so that when an autistic child looks at an adult talking to him, an image from, say “Angry Birds” or “Frozen” pops up.

The goal is to draw kids’ attention to faces. When they turn their heads to make eye contact, the cartoon goes away and the face is revealed, and they can earn points, as they would in a video game.

Another app digitally accentuates the person’s eyes to attract attention, because autistic children are known to focus on the speaker’s mouth.

“We are designing tools to coach children . . . to make eye contact, increase connection to those around them, and unleash the potential of their brain,” Sahin said.

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