BOSTON, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Game on For Autism Research (GoFAR), a charitable foundation created by a local teenager to help children affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), announced today that it is teaming up with Brain Power, an award-winning Cambridge-based technology company. GoFAR's donation will allow Brain Power to provide state-of-the-art computerized glasses, which automatically coach kids through social interactions, to dozens of families at zero cost.
The brain-science-based devices will be available thanks to GoFAR's donation of $70,000 to provide families in need access to Brain Power's Empowered Brain™, a patent-pending technology that transforms Google Glass into a groundbreaking neuro-assistive and educational device that encourages human contact.
Social-emotional skills are difficult to learn for most people on the autism spectrum, and this results in profoundly low rates of employment and significant difficulties with independent living. Empowered Brain includes a heads-up wearable computer and several game-like software modules that use the latest artificial intelligence and augmented reality to give the wearer points for appropriate social interactions. The fun, light-weight system can help people with social-emotional or behavioral challenges teach themselves skills such as decoding facial emotions, looking at people when interacting, calmly transitioning to new situations or locations, paying attention, and staying on task. The system also provides understandable and quantitative data that the user and parents/teachers can view through their web account -- to track and be proud of their progress.
Jamie Menhall, the teen founder of GoFAR who is currently a 12th grader at Boston University Academy, created the foundation when he was 15-years-old to support scientific research and innovative technologies aimed at helping children and teens with ASD. The idea for GoFAR first came to Jamie when he was just 12-years-old and volunteering with adolescents with autism in his community. Jamie realized that the same video games and touch screen devices he loved could also help people with autism. His hope, and GoFAR's mission, is to help build a future in which everyone affected by ASD can benefit from evidence-based, transformative technologies.
"GoFAR's mission to help children on the autism spectrum while also supporting scientific research into new life-enhancing technologies makes Brain Power an ideal partner for our vision," said Jamie Menhall, founder of GoFAR. "Brain Power's technology is scientifically validated to help children right now, but they're continually working to collect data and improve their product. I've seen firsthand how interactive technologies can be used to improve the lives of kids affected by autism. Through GoFAR, I'm hoping we can continue to share these devices with families who need them but otherwise could not afford them."
Jamie's decision to support Brain Power came after a series of meetings and visits where he personally used the technology. "Empowered Brain far surpassed my expectations of what I thought was possible, and it is easy to see why this unique invention is getting so much traction among families and schools," Menhall said.
Empowered Brain has been through several successful clinical validations and is currently used in many Massachusetts schools. Recipients of the innovative technology through GoFAR will not only get the device, but will automatically be enrolled into Brain Power's ongoing research studies aimed to improve the functionality and efficacy of the high-tech therapy. Brain Power has a series of multi-site IRB-approved clinical trials currently underway, and has published evidence for the benefits of Empowered Brain in a wide range of peer-reviewed educational and medical research journals. Brain Power has been fortunate to have received scientific research grant support from the United States Congress and other Federal sources. Additionally, Brain Power has partnered with and received expertise and support from leading technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Affectiva.
"We are extremely humbled to receive support from Jamie and GoFAR," said Dr. Ned T. Sahin, Founder and CEO of Brain Power. "Jamie is a truly remarkable young man who is creating a positive change in the lives of children affected by autism spectrum disorder. My team and I are extremely impressed with the achievements he has already made at such a young age. Thanks to Jamie and GoFAR's generous donation, dozens of new families will now be able to benefit from Empowered Brain, expanding equitable access to the next generation of beneficial technology."
Qualified families who are interested in receiving an Empowered Brain device can submit an application through the dedicated GoFAR page on Brain Power's website.
GoFAR has already committed to donating many devices to families in need and is hoping to receive more donations so they can offset the cost of the products for even more families. To read Jamie's story, learn more about GoFAR and their partnership with Brain Power, and support the organization, visit gofarfoundation.org/brain-power.
About GoFAR Foundation GoFAR Foundation LLC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization founded by Jamie Menhall, currently a 12th grader at Boston University Academy high school, to help build a future in which everyone affected by autism spectrum disorder can benefit from evidence-based transformative technologies. GoFAR is a division of The Leslie S. T. Fang Foundation and is eligible to receive donations that are tax deductible. For more information, visit gofarfoundation.org.
About Brain Power Brain Power LLC is a rapidly growing technology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts founded by Dr. Ned T. Sahin, an award-winning neuroscientist and businessman. Brain Power aims to help unlock the power of the brain through the use of neuroscience-based software and wearable computers. Brain Power works to create effective neuro-assistive and educational products that improve the lives of people with autism and other brain differences and conditions. To learn more, visit brain-power.com or visit Brain Power'sFacebook page.