Tobias in the Zoo – A Serious Game for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vítor H. Carvalho, Jorge Brandão, Pedro Cunha, José Vasconcelos, Filomena Soares


Nowadays ubiquitous technology can be a suitable way to motivate and engage children in interactive learning activities in order to promote their cognitive and social skills. Technologies, like augmented reality (AR), have the ability to catch the children’s imagination and to promote their attention, as they can experiment artificial, safe and fascinating environments. Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) usually have difficulty to recognize facial expressions and to understand associated emotions. We propose to design and develop an innovative GameBook to assist children with ASD to recognize and acquire emotions by engaging their attention and motivation, increasing their competence on this handicap. The GameBook will contain a story that can be read by text or listen by audio. The story will describe some scenarios and real world situations which will conduct the children to become involved on fictional contents associated with emotions. The child will have to interact with these scenarios, by playing with one 3D AR avatar with different facial expressions and choosing the correct one to the right situation and environment described in any page of the GameBook. This GameBook will promote the interaction between the child/storyteller and his/her imagination as well as will help the child to identify the correct emotional face to the situation. The GameBook can be played on any mobile device, such as a tablet, a smartphone or a laptop, with either an external web camera or an inbuilt camera. In order to test it, an exploratory study in a classroom context with ASD children will be performed. We also intend to observe the impact of the game on children interaction, as well as to quantify and evaluate their performance, assess the usability of the technology, and evaluate how it affects the child emotion reactions and the benefits it offers.


Augmented Reality;Autism Spectrum Disorders;Game Book;Serious Games

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International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning (iJAC) – ISSN: 1867-5565
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