Study Shows Smartphone App Can Identify Autism Symptoms In Toddlers

Study Shows Smartphone App Can Identify Autism Symptoms In Toddlers

In children, digital apps have successfully detected revealing autism characteristics, suggesting that one-day technology can become a scalable and inexpensive screening tool, reported by researchers of Duke University.

Study Shows Smartphone App Can Identify Autism Symptoms In Toddlers

The study research team established an app that can assess eye gaze movement of children when they will watch strategically designed and short movies on iPhone. It also applied machine learning and computer vision to get whether a kid looks more on an object or a human while watching. 

Study Shows Smartphone App Can Identify Autism Symptoms In Toddlers

Geraldine Dawson who is a director of the brain and autism centre said that babies with autism pay more attention to the external environment and other objects than paying attention to people.

He added, “We can also trace patterns of eye gape to assess the autism risk. This is happening for the first time we are capable of providing this assessment just by using tablets or smartphones. Dawson and his teams began to develop one app many years ago from now. In this new version, they designed those movies which would enable to assess kid’s preferences to see an object more as compared to people.

For example, one scene from a movie shows a woman who is playing with her top. She is dominating half screen while her top is which she is spinning is on showing another side of the screen. Children without autism noticed the entire screen focusing more on a woman. But those with autism focused more often on the side of the screen which was full of toys. 

Eye-tracing has already used to assess the gape patterns of the eye in people having autism. However, it requires special tools and expert knowledge to analyze these gaze patterns. In this app, it takes a maximum of 10 mins to administer the uses of front-facing tools which records a kid’s behaviour. It only requires an iPhone to make it accessible for the primary care centres and they can also be used with the help of home settings.

Doctor Chang said that it was a technical achievement that took many years to create. It required the whole team of researchers to design these movies in a particular way that can measure and bring out the gape patterns to use in hand-held equipment.

It is so amazing that how far we have worked and come to get the ability to assess eye gape patterns without any specific tool rather than using a normal device that we keep in our pocket. 

Dawson also said that our ongoing validation for the study is underway. Our additional studies of infants from 6 months have been investigating this app-based assess which could identify the differences between a child with autism in the first year and those who later diagnosed. 

“We are hoping that these technological apps will provide larger access to autism in the last screening. It is an important and very first step of intervention for autism. Our goal which we can consider as long-term is a great validation with the easy accessing app that caregivers and providers can download.

They can use it either in-home settings or just the usual clinic. We have more additional steps in this but the research suggests that this would be possible one day” Dawson said. 

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