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Hewlett-Packard Hack-A-Thon Creates Apps for Autistic Kids

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A boy plays a game on a cell phone at the Hewlett-Packard 'Hack-a-thon' event in Santa Clara, October 11, 2011. (CBS)

A boy plays a game on a cell phone at the Hewlett-Packard ‘Hack-a-thon’ event in Santa Clara, October 11, 2011. (CBS)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SANTA CLARA (KCBS)— Hewlett Packard hosted a “hack-a-thon” in Silicon Valley Tuesday to create applications for a very special target audience. They happen to be designed specifically for families with Autistic children.

Schuyler St. Leger has Asperger’s Syndrome— on the high end of the Autism spectrum, and prefers to learn on touch-screen devices rather than monitors with mice.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“Instead of moving a mouse or something, you actually get to touch where you want it to go,” Schuyler explained.

Jim St. Leger, Schuyler’s father who works for Intel said one idea for an app is to use a smart phone’s camera to help Autistic kids better understand facial expressions on others.

“Children on the Autism spectrum, including my son, have a very difficult time understanding what you and I would take for granted with social cues, including a person smiling or frowning,” said the elder Leger.

A room full of developers came to the hack-a-thon.

HP Chief Technology Officer Phil McKinney said the hacking Autism project has gotten a huge response and that the combined forces of touch screens with the right software could unlock an entirely new workforce.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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