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New technology to help children with Autism

About Project

The MICHELANGELO project intends to bring the assessment and the therapy of the autism out of the clinical environment and develop a patient-centric home-based intervention requiring a minimal human involvement and therefore extremely cost effective.

The main outcomes of the project will be:

  1. A camera-based system that – triggered by a wearable EEG solution – will take snapshots of the scenes according to the eye movement and will allow to identify the stimuli that in a natural environment (the child’s home) cause significant responses in the autistic child;
  2. The same pervasive wearable EEG system that - used in conjunction with a eye-tracking device - measures the brain activity while the patient is presented with the reproduction of the identified stimuli and allows to better characterize them. The system - being pervasive in nature - makes the patient “less aware” about the artificial nature of the experiment and therefore does not affects the cognitive activity.
  3. A set of advanced and sophisticated signal processing algorithms enabling accurate characterization of stimulus-specific brainwave anomalies and connectivity between different brain regions and hence giving vivid insight into the process of information integration ability of the brain in a stimulus-specific way.
  4. The design of a personalized intervention protocol based on a heterogeneous strategy where well consolidated developmental/behavioural therapeutic approaches are combined with neurofeedback techniques and use also new ICT-based solutions.
  5. A set of unobtrusive tools for the continuous monitoring of the autistic children during the intervention program allowing its adaptation and personalization.
  6. Sophisticated algorithms applied to advanced imaging techniques (Diffusion Tensor Imaging and fMRI) which are used by the doctor to check the anatomical and functional connectivity of the brain at different steps during the therapy and assess its effectiveness.

Finally the MICHELANGELO project will set the bases to validate the results of its research work in an exploratory study executed in Italy and in France.

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The Michelangelo Project is co-funded from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° #288241