The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

Samson Cheung Awarded NSF Grant for Autism Therapy Research

Samson CheungVis Center faculty member Dr, Sen-Ching (Samson) Cheung has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation for his research into autism therapies using a “virtual mirror”. The research will develop new display and image progressing technology for synthesizing self-modeling and mirror feedback imageries.

The goal of the project will be to enhance behavior therapy for individuals with autism and related disorders. Children with autism spectrum disorders typically lack interest in social interactions, but appear to be highly interested in their own image in mirrors and others imitating their actions. The system will provide a non-intrusive means to capture eye gaze, facial expression, body pose, body movement, and other human behavioral patterns. New multimedia processing algorithms will be developed that will transfer 2D and 3D physical appearances, as well as behaviors from a source individual to the virtual mirror. By combining visual feedback and real-time rendering of new behaviors, the virtual mirror is expected to deliver more effective behavioral modeling.

The research program is a collaborative effort of PIs from electrical engineering, psychology, medicine, and education. Cheung will be the primary investigator, with Lisa Ruble from the College of Education, Ramesh Bhatt from the Department of Psychology and Dr. Neelkamal Soares in Pediatrics at UCLA as co-PIs.

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