Duke University researchers have developed a new AI app called SenseToKnow that can screen children for autism in just 10 minutes while they play a bubble-popping game on a tablet. The app uses various sensors in the tablet to measure and weigh a variety of distinct behavior indicators for autism, such as facial expression, gaze patterns, head movements, blink rate, and motor skills.
Accurate and Interpretable Results
During a well-child visit, healthcare providers used SenseToKnow to screen toddlers aged 17 months to 3 years. Out of the 475 toddlers enrolled in the study, 49 were subsequently diagnosed with ASD and 98 were diagnosed with developmental delays without ASD. The app’s ability to reliably detect children diagnosed with ASD was consistent across toddlers of different sex, race, and ethnicity. Participants who screened positive for ASD using the app had a 40.6% probability of subsequently being diagnosed with the condition. In comparison, only about 15% of children who screen positive using the standard parent questionnaire are later diagnosed with ASD. Combining the app with the standard questionnaire boosted the probability of a positive screen resulting in later diagnosis to 63.4%.
Easy to Use and Accessible
The app is easy to use and does not require any calibration or special equipment. It can be used in any setting, even in the child’s own home. The app has demonstrated accuracy across sex, ethnicity, and race, and could help eliminate known disparities in early autism diagnosis and intervention.
Can SenseToKnow be used as a standalone tool for diagnosing autism?
SenseToKnow is not intended to be used as a standalone tool for diagnosing autism. While the app provides valuable screening information, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation conducted by qualified healthcare professionals is necessary to determine an autism diagnosis.
It serves as an initial screening tool that can identify potential indicators of autism based on the analysis of various behavior indicators. It can help identify children who may require further assessment or intervention. The app’s convenience and accessibility make it a useful tool for gathering preliminary information.
The app is still under development, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way that autism is screened and diagnosed. By making it easier and more accessible to screen for autism early on, SenseToKnow could help children and their families get the support they need sooner.