Over the years, autism advocates have tried to help the public understand what it’s like to be on the spectrum. Video simulations, like this one for instance, have given us a first-person experience of what the world looks like and sounds like.
Those are all fantastic and powerful tools…but one venture, created by Heeju Kim, a Royal College of Art graduate, may be the coolest one yet.
The project, called “An Empathy Bridge for Autism,” is a kit consisting of three main parts: an augmented reality headset connected to a smartphone, a pair of headphones, and—most curious of all—lollipops and hard candies.
That last one may sound like something straight out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s not. The six candies in the kit are all weirdly shaped to mimic communication difficulties.
The augmented reality headset is meant to distort the user’s view of the world around them—like giving viewers focus-impeding black spots, limiting their peripheral vision, and making them see double.
The headphones are meant to affect sound, making the user hear noises as “magnified, distorted, and muddled.”
Kim’s inspiration for the project came from her brother, who is on the spectrum. Most materials in the kit are intentionally low cost for wider accessibility.
Check out the video below to see the kit in action. It’s pretty incredible to watch!
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.