Indian Institute develops low-cost devices designed to help children with autism

indian childrenAhmedabad, India — Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Ghandinagar (IIT-Gn) have developed low-cost devices designed to help children on the autism spectrum overcome setbacks stemming from their condition.

Researchers at the institute were able to come up with helpful devices such as low-cost sensors and noise-canceling headphones.

In an interview with the Indian Express, IIT-Gn Electrical Engineering Assistant Professor Nithin George told that  children with autism often have difficulty with noise, especially background noise such as, ‘like that of a fan or a toilet flush or a vacuum cleaner can increase the anxiety level in the kid.’ Therefore noise reducing headphones are especially useful when in loud spaces. Professor George further adds that headphones have been used in other countries to help children with autism, but they are expensive and can between cost anywhere Rs 4000-25000.

Researchers at the institute are currently in the process of developing electronic devices meant not only for children with autism to cope with their condition, but also as learning tools for those with complex neurological disorders.

The headphones being developed by George and his team are expected to be up to four times cheaper than their usual cost in the market today. He told:

“The device is currently at a design stage. Though it is a little premature to put a price tag, but the cost should be around Rs 1000. These headphones will be such that the child can wear it all day without discomfort.”

Meanwhile, another group of researchers at the IIT-Gn are also in the process of developing another device which is also meant to aid children on the spectrum. According to IIT-Gn Assistant Professor Uttama Lahiri:

“We are developing a virtual reality-based anxiety sensitive adaptive intelligent system for autistic children. The purpose is to address the gap in their social communication skills.”

The researchers are currently conducting feasibility studies in partnership with the BM Institute of Mental Health in Ahmedabad to determine the workability of the said devices in children with autism.

Source: Avinash Nair on The Indian Express website: IIT-Gandhinagar developing low-cost devices for autistic children