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Social wearable sensors to support engagement and learning in children with autism + learning difficulties.

Project description

Wearable social sensors to enhance children's learning

Wearable computing can support engagement and learning in children with autism and learning difficulties. The EU-funded SocSensors project is developing a wrist sensor that can track how these children and their teachers move in relation to each other. The continuous monitoring will generate valuable information and insight, improving our understanding of the behaviour of children who may find it challenging to communicate and express themselves. A report at the end of each lesson will show how often the children were engaged and with whom and how they interacted. The results will be useful for teachers to optimise learning opportunities for this group of children.


Children with autism and learning difficulties often need substantial support in schools and in later life with communication, emotion regulation and daily living skills. Teaching these children and measuring their progress in education is challenging. Our recent work (ERC grant INTERACT 313398) showed that tracking body motion in children and adults can give a real-world measure of how much people are engaged in a social interaction. In this project, we develop this result into a wearable sensor system to quantify and support children’s learning. In the SocSensor system, each child and teacher wears a sensor on their wrist (like a FitBit) and we track how they move in relation to each other, that is, their social engagement. This continuous monitoring is unobtrusive and is particularly valuable in understanding the behaviour of children with minimal verbal skills who cannot easily express themselves. Teachers and/or researchers can receive a report at the end of the lesson showing how often children were engaged and who interacted with who, which will allow them to monitor the effectiveness of lessons and compare different educational approaches. This will allow them to optimise learning opportunities for these-hard-to-reach children. The domains of educational technology and wearables are growing rapidly but no other product addresses the needs of children with autism and learning difficulties, so the SocSensors system can make a big impact.
In this project, we will develop the interface for the SocSensors sensor system, collect validation data in a large autism school and build connections with business partners. This will move SocSensors from a lab prototype to a viable product, as well as showcasing the product to schools, teachers and the autism community. Thus, SocSensors will lead the way in using psychology and wearable computing to support engagement and learning in children with autism + learning difficulties.



Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Gower street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)