FAR: End-to-End Vibrotactile Distributed System Designed to Facilitate Affect Regulation in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Through Slow Breathing

Pardis Miri, Mehul Arora, Aman Malhotra, Robert Flory, Stephanie Hu, Ashley Lowber, Ishan Goyal, Jacqueline Nguyen, John P. Hegarty, Marlo D. Kohn, David Schneider, Heather Culbertson, Daniel L. K. Yamins, Lawrence Fung, Antonio Hardan, James J. Gross, Keith Marzullo
ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022
To address difficulties with affect dysregulation in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we designed and developed an end-to-end vibrotactile breathing pacer system and evaluated its usability. In this paper we describe the system architecture and the features we deployed for this system based on expert advice and reviews. Through piloting this system with one child diagnosed with ASD, we learned that our system was used in ways we did and did not anticipate. For example, the paced-breathing personalization procedure did not meet the attention span of the pilot participant but two instead of one pacer devices encouraged caregiver's involvement. This paper details our learnings and concludes with a list of system design guidelines at the system architecture level. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first fully functional vibrotactile system designed for ASD children that withstood usability testing in vitro for two weeks.