As medical technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, we’ve begun to see some pretty impressive breakthroughs and innovations over the past few years. Predictive medicine tech is getting quite sophisticated, with some AIs now capable of diagnosing heart conditions, eye diseases, and even psychological disorders ahead of time.
Researchers from Northeastern University have come up with another variant of this sort of technology: a wearable wrist device that can predict “aggressive outbursts” in autistic individuals before said outbursts take place. The device, which was created by Northeastern behavioral scientist Matthew Goodwin, can predict these events up to 60 seconds in advance.
While that’s certainly not a lot of time, it could help caretakers safely manage outbursts before they occur. As Goodwin points out, individuals with autism already have much higher levels of stress than those without the condition, and in many cases, it won’t take as much to push them over the edge. That, combined with the communication difficulties that often come with autism, can make it tough for carers to anticipate and respond to outbursts.
Goodwin’s wearable device can monitor things like a wearer’s heart rate, arm movements, sweat production, and more.
Goodwin’s wearable device can monitor things like a wearer’s heart rate, arm movements, sweat production, and more. With roughly 20 autistic children examined, across 87 hours of monitoring, Goodwin’s gadget has proven capable of predicting aggressive outbursts with “84 percent accuracy.”
Over time, the scientist hopes to push that figure higher — for starters, he plans to expand his sample size to 240 individuals (not just children) who suffer from aggressive autism-related outbursts. With a little luck, this device could eventually hit the market and provide an extra safety net to people with autism and their families.