I am a Research Associate at Northeastern University (NEU) in Dr. Matthew Goodwin's Computational Behavioral Science Laboratory (CBSL). In early 2014, we began collaborating on a pre-pilot study to develop new diagnostic standards for anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). My 3-year-old son, Felix, and I both wore skin conductance sensors (Affectiva's Q Sensor) and ECG monitors while completing the ADOS and two new diagnostic standards. Using the unique technological capabilities of the CBSL (a wired room with 5 multi-angle cameras and 2 microphones), our biodata were synced with video and audio recordings of the sessions. In addition to participating in nearly half a dozen fully-wired diagnostic sessions, I have analyzed the electrodermal activity (EDA) data, focusing particularly on the dyadic physiological responses between myself and my son during certain activities and interactions.
I am also helping run a pilot clinical trial to determine more quantitative measures of ASD symptoms and behaviors. Called the Janssen Autism Knowledge Engine (JAKE), the study employs a number of wearable biosensors, including wireless EEG and ECG monitors and a wrist-worn skin conductance sensor, in conjunction with eye-tracking and facial-emotion recognition software. Each participant wears these sensors while completing a computerized test battery to assess (in part) social engagement, emotional response, and cognitive function.
Because this study is the first of its kind, the Northeastern personnel is small, involving only myself, a project manager, and the PI (Dr. Goodwin). I am the technical lead for NEU, responsible for the hardware and software that controls the biosensors and test battery. In addition, I personally conduct each individual trial with the participants, who range in age from 6 to 17 and include individuals both with and without ASD.
If you live in the Boston area and would like to participant in this study to advance our understanding of ASD, please contact me here.