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W I N T E R / S P R I N G U O F L M A G A Z I N E | 2 9 difference in getting treatment and services started as quickly as possible, and that dramatically affects the long-term prospects for these children." Casanova and Farag have continued to work together, helping identify tools and resources to help children on the autism spectrum. "Dr. Farag is one of the hardest-working and most productive people I've ever worked with," says Casanova. "Once he gets set on something, he doesn't stop." Beyond the brain imaging, Dr. Farag found his work on facial recognition also had applications to help people with autism, who often avoid eye contact and have difficulty "reading" a person's face. He developed an app that helps users learn various facial expressions and begin to pick up on social cues. "It's helping them identify expressions — is the person happy, sad, angry? They can start to differentiate emotions, and then perhaps improve their social skills." Farag has submitted a grant proposal to the NSF promoting the use of facial biometrics to help autistic children in the classroom. His goal is to enhance their ability to learn in an educational setting and improve their social interaction to the degree that they can enroll in mainstream schools. "Eventually, these children will grow up. We must do what we can to ensure they become productive adults in our community." Although his name is most often attached to the group's work, Farag is quick to acknowledge and credit the many people working in the CVIP lab as the main reason for its success. "None of this would have even been imagined without years of effort from many people. Certainly the students, but also department chairpersons, deans, provosts, vice presidents for research and the president. The end result is technology that is extremely viable. Most important, it addresses real-world problems, and can have a great impact on the quality of life for many, many people. That's what we're all working for." E N V I S I O N I N G T H E F U T U R E The CVIP Lab is developing a system to incorporate smart robotics in the class- room and help autistic children feel more comfortable in educational settings. Given their appeal to children, humanoid robots may be programmed to enhance students' attention and to assist teachers as they cover various subjects as well as drawing, problem solving and other concepts. U L _ 2 9 2 9 UL_29 29 1 / 2 7 / 1 4 9 : 3 8 A M 1/27/14 9:38 AM

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