Empower Me is a digital coach that runs on smartglasses, to empower children and adults with autism to teach themselves social and cognitive skills toward happy self-sufficiency. Empower Me runs on Google Glass, including the newly released Glass Enterprise Edition, and other smartglasses. By using these wearable platforms, rather than tablets or phones that require looking down, Empower Me encourages social interaction with others, keeping people heads-up, hands-free, and engaged with their families and the world.
Empower Me features a suite of apps. One example, Emotion Charades, is an award-winning app that teaches the user to identify emotions, and understand them, which are common challenges for people on the spectrum. Users look through the private screen on their smartglasses and see emojis on either side of their partner’s face. They select which one they think matches the facial expression with a spoken command or a subtle head tilt. Empower Me’s patent-pending software detects emotions and voice commands using artificial intelligence (AI), and the head tilt via accelerometer data. Beginner levels are about identifying basic emotions. Advanced levels (for verbal and older children/adults) prompt discussion on what each emotion means to either person. Points and rewards are unlocked as children learn to improve their ability to correctly decode and understand the emotions of their parents, therapists, siblings, or friends.
“I am #actuallyautistic and I got to try it out in Vancouver,” says April Dawn Griffin, an artist from Saskatchewan. “There's a lot of cool features for kids but I like it for adults too. Upsetting people because I don't pick up unspoken communication and facial expression gets old. The glasses are a lot of fun, but I can't stress enough how nice it is to detect when I'm boring people. I was seriously impressed.”
Empower Me not only helps to aid emotional understanding, but also features apps that assist with transition management, a daily activity that challenges some people on the autism spectrum. Additionally, it features apps designed to target attention to social cues, including the ability to focus on face and eye regions when it is desirable to do so. While this is a useful skill, e.g. for getting a job, it can be stressful. Therefore, Empower Me also measures physiological signs of stress and adjusts the experience accordingly.
Empower Me features an augmented reality (AR) environment in which users can interact with the world around them aided by a non-intrusive display of intelligent visual cues. The system also uses advanced emotion AI and gamification techniques based on scientific principles to motivate children and adults to overcome social and behavioral challenges.
"People with autism work hard to get through every day. It’s a constant struggle, and Brain Power helps to relieve some of the pressure. Kids engage with it naturally, and even though some kids worry about putting things on their heads, they are so taken with the device and what it can do for them, this seems to be a non-issue. The added "cool factor" helps tremendously as well!" said Sara Gaynor, autism parent and special educator specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
User performance can be monitored on a unique web-based dashboard accessible from anywhere in the world. The dashboard provides quantitative measurements outlining the user’s strengths, challenges, and progress. For families, it gives numerical data and predictions they have never had access to before. For BCBA's and other therapists, it provides a way to objectively measure and demonstrate their clients' progress, and to give families a structured and fun way to practice and measure improvement between therapy sessions.
"As both an autism parent and educator, I believe in the power of captivating educational aids in evoking awareness and impelling behavioral change. As long as medical intervention remains imperfect in remedying overwhelming anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior, I am grateful that Dr. Sahin is passionate in his quest to provide a wearable life-coach for those with autism spectrum disorders,” said Andrea Harrison, autism mom and public school teacher.
After years of research and development, rigorous product and clinical testing, and acceptance by families and practitioners, Empower Me is finally available, today, in limited quantities. Families, schools, and therapists can pre-order the first available systems at a discount through Brain Power’s Indiegogo campaign, which launched today at www.Brain-Power.com/LAUNCH.
Supporters can also accelerate Brain Power’s social mission via the campaign by sponsoring an autistic employee. Brain Power has employed people on the spectrum since its founding days. Other unique opportunities include endowing a post-doctoral position (named in the donor’s honor) or defraying the cost of Empower Me for a needy family.
”Empowering people is my passion,” says Dr. Ned T. Sahin, CEO of Brain Power. “Technology is often blamed for pulling people apart, but my goal was to use technology, and science, to bring people even closer than they ever might have been, and to unlock the immense power of their unique brains. You could say that we are using artificial intelligence to unlock natural intelligence.”
Empower Me™ by Brain Power
The Empower Me system consists of a Google Glass wearable device, Brain Power’s suite of assistive apps for daily activities, and a web-based dashboard for monitoring and measuring progress. Brain Power’s technology platform is powered by neuroscience developed at MIT and Harvard, and was created in close partnership with Affectiva, the world’s leading emotion AI company; and X, formerly known as Google X.
"Affectiva’s vision is to create a world where technology can sense and adapt to human emotions - what we call Emotion AI,” says Rana El Kaliouby, Affectiva CEO. “As one of the earliest partners and adopters of our tech, the Brain Power system addresses a real need in helping people build emotional connections using technology - specifically for those on the autism spectrum and their families - which is something that I was sincerely passionate about when I first co-founded Affectiva. After working with Brain Power these last two years on their vision, it is incredibly gratifying today to see it realized."
Clinical Trials and Research
Brain Power’s technology has had positive feedback from people on the spectrum, parents, and professionals; and is validated through published research and an ongoing clinical trials program. To date, research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed, PubMed-indexed medical journals, with several more in press. Empower Me has been clinically shown to be safe, feasible, and tolerable, and has demonstrated a reduction in scores on the Aberrant Behavioral Checklist in children with autism.
“Brain Power’s system puts a fresh spin on therapy, and offers clinicians a highly motivating learning tool - which is essential for working with people with autism,” says Dr. Katina Lawdis, OTD, OTR/L. “The unique presentation, with its gaming quality, is key to eliciting and sustaining attention to otherwise challenging tasks. In addition to superior client engagement, the tool gives therapists an unparalleled platform for data collection, as Empower Me records reactions seamlessly. This will be a must-have tool for any cutting-edge clinic.”
Brain Power is lead by a proven team of world-class scientists, educators, clinicians, and technologists. Team members include both neurotypical people, and people who identify as autistic. Founder and CEO Dr. Ned Sahin, an award-winning neuroscientist and entrepreneur, founded Brain Power to merge neuroscience with technology innovation to help people with special challenges and different abilities. Key members of the Brain Power executive team include: Arshya Vahabzadeh, MD, chief medical officer; Joey Salisbury, PhD, director of software development; and Neha Keshav, PhD, director of research.
About Brain Power, LLC
Brain Power is a neuro-tech company focused on innovative wearable technology to help people with brain-related challenges. Its technology is based on neuroscience developed at Harvard and MIT, evidence-based educational gamification techniques, AI, and AR. Brain Power’s flagship product, Empower Me, helps people on the autism spectrum overcome social and behavioral challenges. Visit www.Brain-Power.com.