This morning’s local (Charleston, SC) paper, The Post and Courier, announces a new study by Shawn Rocco from Duke University about Autism.
On Friday, Aug. 2nd I drove to Myrtle Beach, SC to present our app idea and our mission to a group of summer campers, teens with Aspergers (ages 13-22). This is the target market and age range for the first launch of AutismSees. I presented our ideas to the kids to see if they wanted to be a part of the development process!!
The trip was great. I made 6 new friends at SOS Health Care who love video games, Pokemon, the Marines, movies, Candy Crush, technology, and each other! My journey was so fulfilling because the boys all had fantastic ideas for ways to use the product.
Most importantly, they told me why AutismSees needs to gamify the mobile application-so they will continue to practice eye contact! No one is going to pick up an app on their phone to improve their presentation skills if its not giving them something tangible back!! Especially a teenage boy.
The idea was well received: “So when we are talking to someone, we look respectful because we are making eye contact,” said Justin (age 22) when asked why he would want to use AutismSees’ new app.
We went to San Francisco to participate in the Autism Speaks Hackathon for building mobile applications and websites to promote secondary education, social skills improvement, and relationship building for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We made progress on front-end design, website development, team building, and market anaylsis.
Eye Tracking technology is cutting edge. Our application design corresponds to a wave of venture capital investment in eye tracking and facial recognition software. This means that our ability to bring AutismSees to market will depend on the growth, development, and investment in this new software.
We also discovered how many people are looking to incorporate communciation skills-building into interactive video games for users on the Spectrum. We are going to build our public speaking, dialogue, and presentation application on multiple different platforms. To do this, we will continue networking with groups we met in San Francisico. Overall, the Hackathon was a worthwhile experience, a great change to network with like-minded individuals, and an opportunity to bring our future customers a better product.
So today is the last day of the Twilio Autism Speaks Hackathon. What an experience. My trip to California has been much more rewarding than just this Hackathon. I have met the most gifted students both in high school and college who are working in tech. I have found potential teammates and a partner and friend at Stanford University.
We have plans for an updated website, we have finished the Logo design for AutismSees, and we are building an interactive mockup that shows the user’s progress by reporting achievements and rewards to parents, teachers, friends and care takers.
The next big step is to incorporate eye tracking software into our app design and just keep moving. Contact me if you all have any questions and look out for the next post!
3 DAYS left until I fly out to California to the Autism Speaks Hackathon. Last night I was sketching out my design and long term plans for iPresentWell, trying to incorporate new ideas I received from the Medical University of South Carolina, friends whose siblings have Autism Disorders, and moms who called me with ideas for “gamifying” the app. This summer’s Tufts Magazine came to my house 2 weeks ago. Check out this article.
Although the article is about about a woman who bribed some computer geeks to fix her laptop–it has some fascinating insights into why “GAMIFYING” everything and anything…is making a HUGE difference in motivation, marketing, and sales. Contact me if you have ideas for gamifying iPresentWell.
All the best.
Exciting news for AutismSees–we are traveling to the 2013 Autism Speaks Hackathon at Twilio HQ this July! Stay in touch as we update you with progress of the first version of iPresentWell for individuals wanting to improve eye contact, presentation skills, and speaking skills!
Our meeting with Genuine Interactive CEO and Founder Chris Pape was helpful for thinking through the next steps of prototyping this summer. Our focus is eye contact–the prototype will be tested in the next few months at the Medical University of South Carolina. Details to follow. Check out our project on Indiegogo.com for further information and if you would like to contribute to app development.