X-ray glasses to help those with autism 'see' others' feelings?

Andrew Couts


We’ve all dreamt of having X-ray glasses to reveal to us things which we cannot see. But what if we had a device that could show us something deeper, some truth about the people we meet? That is now a reality, with a new kind of glasses that use real-time facial recognition technology to unmask a person’s true emotional state, reports Sally Adee in New Scientist. The implications of such a technology are profound, to say the least.

The special specs were developed by University of Cambridge, UK, researcher Rana el Kaliouby, who wanted to help autistic people by creating a way for them to read the emotional cues of the people they come in contact with each day in a way made impossible by their medical condition.

El Kaliouby sought the help of fellow Cambridge associate and autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen (yes, he’s Borat's cousin). The two identified six independent facial expressions that are used to evoke our range of emotions: thinking, agreeing, concentrating, interested, confused and disagreeing. The pair then hired actors to make the various expressions, which were then interpreted by volunteers who were asked to describe their meaning. The majority description was deemed the most accurate one.

The glasses, developed by MIT electrical engineer Rosalind Picard, use “a camera the size of a rice grain connected to a wire snaking down to a piece of dedicated computing machinery about the size of a deck of cards,” writes Adee. The camera watches 24 “feature points” on a person’s face, and inputs the data into a software, which interprets the movements and micro movements, and compares them against a database of known expressions.

Also built into the glasses are a earpiece and a light on the lens, both of which tell the wearer if the person with whom they are speaking has a negative reaction to something that’s said. If everybody’s happy, the light flashes green. If things go sour, a red light appears on the lens. The team responsible for the glasses hopes to one day make an augmented reality version that displays information from a computer on the lenses.

While the glasses were primarily developed for people with autism, the researchers found that most people are terrible at reading emotional cues; on average, their test subjects were able to distinguish the correct emotion only 54 percent of the time. The glasses, while far from perfect, knock the probability of getting it right to 64 percent.

Full article here


Related Articles


Study links anti-depressants use during pregnancy to increased autism risk

A preliminary study draws a link between the most widely prescribed anti-depressants and an increased risk of ..

read more

Trio of studies point to spontaneous gene mutations as cause of autism

Spontaneous and rare gene mutations are likely the cause of autism in families with no previous history of the ..

read more

Deaf man with Asperger's starts non-profit to help those with autism find jobs

It's tough for many job seekers to find or retain employment in a rocky economy and can be even harder for adu ..

read more

Our Support Community


Join our free support community and connect with thousands of other families and individuals touched by ASD. Find out what’s working for others, coping strategies, and life guides from others living what you’re going through now. Click here to join for free!

Resources in Your Area

Looking for autism resources nearby? Check our listings for professionals and services that might help.

Post your services | Help out in general

Events


Saturday Social: A Garden Party at SEEDs for Autism
Phoenix, AZ - United States
Jul-21-2018 - 10:00 am
Date: Saturday, July 21, 2018 Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Price: $40.00 Location: SEEDs for Autism - 3420 S. 7th St. Phoenix, AZ 85040 This Saturday workshop is ope ..
Go to Event site

view all events