Duke Launches Autism Research App with Global Reach

Oct 15, 2015

A team of researchers and software developers from Duke University and the Duke Medical Center—co-led by iiD’s Helen Egger and Guillermo Sapiro—has introduced a free iOS app to learn more about autism in young children living around the world.

App Avatar

The app uses an iPhone’s self-facing camera to assess a child’s emotional state while viewing various stimuli. The dots are landmarks automatically placed on a video of the child by the software, and movement of these dots is analyzed to indicate various emotional states.

Beginning Thursday, October 15, 2015, the “Autism & Beyond” ResearchKit app is being offered from the Apple App Store for use on iOS devices. ResearchKit is a new open-source framework developed by Apple that allows researchers to create app-based studies with a global reach.

About the Project

The app was developed over four months of intense work by a large team of Duke programmers, scientists and students who worked in close partnership with Apple. It builds on the iiD/Bass Connections “Information, Child Mental Health, and Society” project.

“We’re hoping this app will increase access to mental health and autism screening in different cultures around the world,” Helen Egger, MD, says.

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Imagine a world where we understand how to detect mental health and developmental problems in early childhood so that we can intervene early in life and prevent future suffering and impairment. This is a challenge that can only be addressed by an interdisciplinary team of computational people with child psychiatrists...