New software concept may help with autism

July 5, 2013, University of Auckland

Assistive learning software to help autistic children recognise emotions from facial expressions recently won a UniServices prize in the annual Spark Ideas Challenge.

A team of students from the Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship programme at The University of Auckland developed the commercialisation plan for a course project. They worked with Dr Mark Sagar from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute's Laboratory of Animate Technology on his that could have many applications.

"From many possibilities for commercialisation, we narrowed it down to this one, that we dubbed LearnEmotion, and developed a strategy for it," says LearnEmotion team leader, Graeme Finch who is also Business Development Manager at the Research Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University's Tamaki campus.

"LearnEmotion is a novel digital application based on an 'emotional engine' technology that was developed by Dr Sagar who is an Academy Award winner and worked on movies such as Avatar and King Kong, to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder", says Graeme.

"The LearnEmotion application has the potential to establish a strong connection with the child, assisting them to recognise the expression of emotion in others and training them to express emotion", he says. "This helps not only the child, but also their wider family group, to better manage relationships."

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a learning disorder which often led to behavioural problems in social situations, because the person doesn't recognise . Those with ASD usually lack the ability to read other people's emotions or to relate to people. They also often have a fixation with inanimate objects which is why a computer based application helps.

"The LearnEmotion software programme aims to assists people with ASD to recognise emotion from . ",. "It fills a gap in the market of a reasonably priced tool that parents can easily access for their child." says Graeme

He says there is a well-recognised global need for effective ASD treatment that doesn't involve drugs or specialist staff.

"We are still refining the product concept, so that it is attractive to the parents of autistic children, so talking to the parents is an important part of our market validation."

Explore further: Can therapy dogs be beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder?

Related Stories

Can therapy dogs be beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder?

February 12, 2013
About 1 in 150 children are affected by an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by difficulty with language, communication, and social interaction. A critical review of several ...

Mimicry not needed for the recognition of emotions

November 5, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—'Mimicry', the imitation of the facial expression of the other person, does not play a major role in the ability to recognise the emotion of another person. This is apparent from research conducted by Agneta ...

Children and teens with autism more likely to become preoccupied with video games

April 17, 2013
Children and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) use screen-based media, such as television and video games, more often than their typically developing peers and are more likely to develop problematic video game habits, ...

Recommended for you

Nearly imperceptible fluctuations in movement correspond to autism diagnoses

January 17, 2018
A new study led by researchers at Indiana University and Rutgers University provides the strongest evidence yet that nearly imperceptible changes in how people move can be used to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, including ...

Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors

January 16, 2018
Scientists have long tried to pin down the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have expanded the search for genetic links from identifying genes toward epigenetics, the study of factors that control gene expression ...

Being bilingual may help autistic children

January 16, 2018
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have a hard time switching gears from one task to another. But being bilingual may actually make it a bit easier for them to do so, according to a new study which was recently ...

No rise in autism in US in past three years: study

January 2, 2018
After more than a decade of steady increases in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

Autism therapy: Brain stimulation restores social behavior in mice

December 13, 2017
Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.

Social phobia linked to autism and schizophrenia

December 11, 2017
New Swinburne research shows that people who find social situations difficult tend to have similar brain responses to those with schizophrenia or autism.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.