NTU final year product design student Jugjeevan Brar, chose to look into autism as he wanted his major project to represent his belief of design being a medium in which a person’s lifestyle could be radically improved. The result is AMICA Smart Toy. In the UK there has been 700,000 people diagnosed with autism, a disorder which has such a varying array of symptoms that when simply asked what it like to have autism there is no straight forward answer. One individual may find it difficult to make eye contact where as another may be hypersensitive to sound or light.
Research conducted by the designer, Jugjeevan Brar, highlighted there is often a communication barrier experienced between an autistic child and their parent, when the child is unable to express how they are feeling due to a lack of emotional understanding. Not only does this make it tough for the parent to feel connected with their child, but it also makes it challenging for the child to sympathize or empathize towards others. AMICA however, offers a platform where this communication barrier can be bridged through being a companion for the child and a support system for the parent.
Marketed for children 4 years or above AMICA features an emotions recognition game where various facial expressions will be displayed on its digital screen. The game has a 3 part structure where the child learns the emotion, makes a story around the emotion, and grows their understanding of the emotion. The mood lighting aspect has a range of pre-set lighting patterns to offer visual stimulation that is individual to every child. Whether it’s been a stressful day at school or troubles with sleeping at night AMICA’s lighting schedules range from 15, 30 or 45 minute timeframes.
Through the community feature of the application parents are able to grow their support system which offers insight from therapists and education professionals to deliver a more integrated parental journey as their child grows. Taking inspiration from the ABA and TEACHH principles, analysis tools are provided to identify any trends in out of a pattern behavior their child is showing, offering parents a solution exclusively to their situation. Greater structure can be offered on the child’s daily and weekly routines through the logging feature reducing the chances of an anxiety or panic attack. For more details on the concept please visit the Jugjeevan’s Instagram profile: http://www.instagram.com/jbproductdesign/