CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Today, Brain Power, LLC (www.Brain-Power.com) published the results of a clinical research trial demonstrating that its Google Glass-based “Empowered Brain” system leads to improved Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults with autism. The research, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, JMIR Mental Health, showed that all participants had reduced symptoms of ADHD after 48 hours of using Brain Power’s system. Those with the most severe ADHD symptoms demonstrated a 56% reduction in their symptoms. There are over 3.5 million people with autism in the United States, and up to a third may be diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD among people with autism is often underdiagnosed, and is usually more difficult to treat than regular ADHD.
This preliminary research builds upon prior Brain Power research showing that the Empowered Brain system can improve both social communication and behavior in people with autism in both laboratory and school settings. “While this is early research, I am confident that our augmented reality technology with artificial intelligence can help to augment the therapeutic and educational services for the millions of autistic people in the United States” said Dr. Ned T. Sahin, founder and CEO of Brain Power. “We want to empower people of many different abilities and brain types to succeed in every aspect of their lives, and this research is a step toward that goal.”
Brain Power aims to unlock the potential of learners by reducing their distractibility. “The academic potential of students with autism is often limited by a lack of focus and attention, which is why we studied the impact of the Empowered Brain on these common but challenging ADHD symptoms” says Mr. Rafiq Abdus-Sabur, Ed.M., Brain Power’s Educational Lead and a Harvard-trained expert in assistive technology. “Our research shows that we can improve inattention and hyperactivity — challenges that get in the way for both teachers and students.”
Empowered Brain™ by Brain Power
The “Empowered Brain” system by Brain Power consists of a wearable headset (for instance Google Glass), Brain Power’s suite of assistive apps for daily activities, and a web-based dashboard for parents or teachers to monitor progress and automatically generate reports. Brain Power’s technology platform is powered by neuroscience developed at MIT and Harvard, and was created in close partnership and collaboration with Google (including the “X” division/company), with Affectiva (the world’s leading emotion AI company), and with Amazon.
Empowered Brain can run on many different headsets, in addition to Google Glass. Users learn specific skills in focused, brief sessions using the system – they do not need to wear the system all day. The United States Congress has directly funded Brain Power to further develop the tools of the Empowered Brain for the autism community, including for job training and coaching. Brain Power recently completed one of the most successful autism-related crowdfunding campaigns, raising over $137,000 of pre-orders from the autism community.
Example Module – Emotion Charades
Empowered Brain includes multiple apps (or modules), for multiple skills. One example, “Emotion Charades”, is an award-winning app that teaches the user to identify and understand emotions, 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 emoji they think matches the facial expression with a spoken command or a subtle head tilt. The Empowered Brain’s patent-pending software detects emotions and voice commands using artificial intelligence and the head tilt via accelerometer data.
Beginner levels focus on identifying basic emotions. Advanced levels (for verbal or cognitively advanced children/adults) prompt discussion on what each emotion means to either person. This provides a script and an excuse for an interactive conversation between the individual and caregiver/educator about their feelings and social scenarios, which many participants have reported to be unique and rewarding. Points and rewards are unlocked as users learn to improve their ability to correctly decode and understand the emotions of their parents, therapists, teachers, siblings, or friends.
Brain Power’s augmented reality module to teach emotion understanding
“Emotion Charades” module by Brain Power. (A) In this two-player game, the user wears an augmented-reality headset (here, Google Glass), while the partner (here, the user’s Mom) receives prompts on which emotion to model via a phone or tablet connected to the headset via Brain Power’s cloud infrastructure. (B) Brain Power’s artificial intelligence software detects and analyze’s the partner’s face, and presents augmented-reality overlays and prompts that the user sees through the headset. (C) The user is prompted to choose the emoji that matches the partner’s expression, and rewarded points (D) accordingly. The partner is also cued to then give real-world feedback, and in advanced modes to engage the user in deeper levels of processing around emotion comprehension. (Figure from published Research Paper, (c) Brain Power). Image may be used for editorial purposes, online or in print. Image may not be used for any commercial purpose.
Clinical Trials and Research
Brain Power’s technology and products have had extremely positive feedback from people on the spectrum, parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals. Brain Power takes an evidence-based and methodical approach, and therefore has devoted considerable time and effort to build collaborations with top research universities and to validate its [work] through research studies and clinical trials. Results have been published in multiple peer-reviewed, PubMed-indexed medical journals.
Empowered Brain has been clinically shown to be safe, feasible, and tolerable, and has improve autistic user’s scores on the Aberrant Behavioral Checklist (ABC) and the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2). The Empowered Brain is an educational technology. While it has been studied in IRB-approved clinical research trials, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Brain Power is led by a proven team of world-class scientists, educators, clinicians, and technologists. Team members include both neurotypical people, and people who identify as autistic. CEO Dr. Ned T. 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. Leadership team members include: Arshya Vahabzadeh, MD, chief medical officer; Neha Keshav, PhD, director of research; Joseph Salisbury, PhD, director of software development; and Lindsey Minahan, director of quality.
Ned T. Sahin, PhD: Founder and CEO of Brain Power. Dr. Sahin is a neuroscientist and inventor, and was trained at Williams College, Oxford, MIT, Harvard, and the Salk Institute.
Brain Power team members
About Brain Power, LLC
Brain Power is a neuro-technology 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, Empowered Brain, helps people on the autism spectrum overcome social and behavioral challenges. Visit www.Brain-Power.com.
This work was supported in part by the Autism Research Program under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) via the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (award W81XWH-17-1-0449). Early work to transform smartglasses into biomedical sensors was supported in part by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-14-C-0007. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the US Department of Defense. Brain Power thanks Google, Inc, for a generous grant.
Research Papers validating Brain Power technology:
Vahabzadeh, A., Keshav, N. U., Salisbury, J. P., & Sahin, N. T. (2018). Improvement of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in School-Aged Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults With Autism via a Digital Smartglasses-Based Socioemotional Coaching Aid: Efficacy Study. JMIR Mental Health (in press). Link. PDF.
Tolerability and usability of smartglasses:
Keshav, N. U., Salisbury, J. P., Vahabzadeh, A., & Sahin, N. T. (2017). Social communication coaching smartglasses: well tolerated in a diverse sample of children and adults With autism. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 5(9), e140. Link.
Feasibility, with improvement in social communication:
Keshav, N. U., Salisbury, J. P., Vahabzadeh, A., & Sahin, N. T. (2017). Social communication coaching smartglasses: well tolerated in a diverse sample of children and adults With autism. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 5(145), 1-8. Link. PDF.
Usability, theoretical basis, and desirability in schools. (Also, first paper ever with second version of Google Glass):
Sahin, N. T., Keshav, N. U., Salisbury, J. P., & Vahabzadeh, A. (2018). Second Version of Google Glass as a Wearable Socio-Affective Aid: Positive School Desirability, High Usability, and Theoretical Framework in a Sample of Children with Autism. JMIR Human Factors, 5(1): e1 (p 1-11). Link. PDF.
Demonstrating accuracy of sensors on Google Glass, and application of tech to brain injury:
Salisbury, J. P., Keshav, N. U., Sossong, A. D., & Sahin, N. T. (2018). Concussion Assessment With Smartglasses: Validation Study of Balance Measurement Toward a Lightweight, Multimodal, Field-Ready Platform. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(1): e15 (p 1-12). Link. PDF.
Positive reports by school teachers:
Keshav, N. U., Vahabzadeh, A., Abdus-Sabur, R., Liu, R., Huey, K., Salisbury, J. P., & Sahin, N. T. (2018). Longitudinal Socio-Emotional Learning Intervention for Autism Via Smartglasses: Qualitative School Teacher Report of Practicality and Efficacy in General and Special Education Classroom Settings. Pre-published on PsyArxiv. Link. PDF.
Efficacy results — Improvement in social functioning in school classroom:
Sahin, N. T., Abdus-Sabur, R., Keshav, N. U., Liu, R., Salisbury, J. P., & Vahabzadeh, A. (2018). Augmented Reality Intervention for Social Communication in Autism in a School Classroom: Rated by Teachers and Parents as Effective and Usable in a Controlled, Longitudinal Pilot Study. Pre-published on PsyArxiv. Link. PDF.
Safety of Brain Power’s system and smartglasses in children :
Sahin, N. T., Keshav, N. U., Salisbury, J. P., & Vahabzadeh, A. (2018). An Augmented Reality Social Communication Aid for Children and Adults with Autism: User and caregiver report of safety and lack of negative effects. Pre-published on bioRxiv. Link. PDF.