When Google introduced Google Glass with a $1,500 developer edition in 2013, the nerd factor ran high. If Google had any thoughts that the general public would heartily embrace Glass, that trial balloon drifted into the ether within a year. There are two application areas where Glass touched a nerve, however: enterprise apps and autism. That the current product is called the Enterprise Edition of Google Glass underscores the market’s influence on Glass. The net efficiency gain when skilled employees can reference documentation and reports while using both hands is an argument that’s hard to counter. 

Google Glass fills a profound need in applications related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In 2017, we noted work at the University of Toronto developing social-skills coaching software to help people with ASD handle social interaction. We wrote earlier this year about Brain Power’s Empower Me augmented reality application for Glass that helps people with ASD stay engaged during social encounters. 

The Autism Glass Project at Stanford Medicine involves experts in psychiatry, behavioral science, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence working together to develop an assistive tool to help people on the spectrum recognize facial emotion. The group’s goal is the creation of a clinically validated therapeutic device to help people with ASD interpret other’s facial expressions. Prior to taking the Autism Glass Project nationwide, the group is currently recruiting families in California’s Bay Area who have autistic children aged 4 to 17. Participants will test the use of Autism Glass as a therapeutic device in their homes; the goal is to determine the best tool for individual and family needs.  

People interested in participating in the Autism Glass Project are encouraged to visit the project’s website or email the coordinators at austismglass@stanford.edu.