Microsoft 2018 Neurodiversity Hackathon
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  • Microsoft Hackathon project - A Web-Based VR Social Simulator
  • Implemented in HTML5, with the A-FRAME VR Framework

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ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) has had success with equipping individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) the social skills necessary to live a happier lifestyle. However, individuals may struggle with compound emotions, and with responding appropriately to different degrees of emotions. Our web-based VR simulation, Emodemy, aims to address that.


  • Verbal children on the higher-functioning end of ASD
  • Build a repertoire of virtual social scenarios for the child to practice applying their social skills
  • Behavioural analysts can supervise the child’s use of the device and come up with potential scenarios and appropriate responses

How it works:

  • Virtual person tells user something that has happened
  • User selects appropriate response to virtual person
  • Responses that are more appropriate will earn the user more points
  • Accumulated points can be used to earn rewards for the user

Treatment Validation:

  • Point system is a form of operant conditioning where positive behaviours will be reinforced with the awarding of more points
  • Positive reinforcement occurs via the reward redemption system, which varies per user and should be pre-determined
  • e.g. If a child really enjoys going outside, a certain number of points can be redeemed to earn an hour of being outdoors
  • Such conditioning is currently being used effectively in ABA, but of course experimental studies will need to be done to determine the degree of efficacy Emodemy might provide if incoroporated into the program

Future additions:

  • Facial expressions
  • Body language
  • User’s physical interaction with virtual environment (hugging the person, giving them something)
  • Involving family members in scenarios, crowdsourcing