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Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Challenges with typical social engagement, common in the autism experience, can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of individuals and families living with autism. Recent advances in sensing, intelligent, and interactive technologies can enable new forms of assistive and augmentative technologies to support social interactions. However, researchers have not yet demonstrated effectiveness of these technologies in long-term real-world use. This article presents an overview of the social and sensory challenges of autism, which offer great opportunities and challenges for the design and development of assistive technologies. We review existing work on developing wearable technologies for autism particularly to assist social interactions, analyze their potential and limitations, and discuss future research directions.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in IEEE Pervasive Computing, volume 17, issue 2, in 2018 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at