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Samsung launches mobile app for autistic children

'Look At Me' aims to help children develop communications skills

Samsung Look At Me autism mobile app 

One of the world's biggest technology companies has launched a new app designed to help autistic children improve their daily lives.

Samsung's 'Look At Me' app aims to help develop communication skills in children with autism, with a view to deepening relationships with those around them.

Many children with autism struggle to make and sustain eye contact with others, something that could affect them socially as they grow up.

Studies have also found children with autism like to interact with smart devices, so Samsung says it has seized upon this opportunity with its new offering.

The South Korean firm has collaborated with the agency Cheil Worldwide as well as doctors and professors from Seoul National University and Yonsei University to develop Look At Me, and conducted a joint clinical trial with 20 children for eight weeks.

The app works by using a smart device's camera function to take photos of themselves exhibiting a range of emotions and different poses.

This, the company says, can help children learn to read a person's mood and remember faces, two things which can be very difficult for many autistic children.

On top of this there are also seven interactive missions designed to keep the children engaged, while a point system, various rewards and sound/visual effects keep them motivated to do better. Each mission takes about 15 to 20 minutes a day to complete.

Professor Kyong-Mee Chung at Yonsei University says: “Around 60% of the children tested showed improvement in making eye contact. They could also identify emotional expressions more easily. This app will help children with autism improve their perception and expression of diverse emotions, such as happiness, surprise and fear.”

In partnership with Autism Speaks Canada, Samsung Canada is also donating 200 Galaxy Tab S devices preloaded with the app to Canadian families with children on the autism spectrum.

The Look at Me project hopes to create a community of parents, while simultaneously collecting data on the app's effectiveness. The inspiration for Look At Me came from Samsung's 'Launching People Campaign' that crowdsources ideas from around the world.

The app can be downloaded from Google Play and is optimised for Samsung smart devices.

26th January 2015

From: Healthcare

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