A new Samsung app is helping autistic children learn one of the most basic communication skills: making eye contact. This isn’t by any means a unique invention. Apps and mobile-based games have given parents and educators an invaluable tool for teaching special needs children basic interaction skills and showing them how to cope in various social settings and scenarios.
Such apps are typically developed by independent software makers, though the big names like Apple and Samsung are beginning to focus on similar apps especially as diagnoses in conditions like autism increases.
Samsung’s latest app is called Look at Me and is designed to help children make eye contact. While simply starring into another person’s eyes during a conversation is basic communication etiquette, it’s something that autistic individuals struggle with.
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Samsung’s autism app comes just weeks after Google announced its own similar project. In conjunction with the advocacy group Autism Speaks, the search engine giant developed MSSNG, which consists of a massive cloud platform that stores the world’s largest database of sequenced genomic information of people with autism and other similar disabilities.
The development of such apps serves a two-fold purpose. For one, it’s good PR for the developer because it shows to the public that the company is actively trying to invent new technology to better the lives of special needs kids and their family. Secondly, it also provides an inexpensive tool for parents and educators, especially given the high cost associated with special needs education.
Look at Me was developed by researchers from Korea’s Yonsei University Department of Psychology and Seoul National University Bundag Hospital. The app uses a combination of games, photos, and facial recognition technology to help autistic children decipher body language and facial emotions. In a clinical trial lasting eight weeks and with 20 children as test subjects, 12 of the kids showed improvement in making eye contact at the conclusion of the experiment.
The Samsung app may help autistic kids overcome a barrier that normal children don’t ever have to face. Look at Me is currently available for download at Google Play.
This article was written by Muyen Peng from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.