University of Michigan Develops ‘Social Sensory Surfaces’ for Autism Therapy [Video]

A blend of light, music, and structure creates highly sensory experiences for children with autism spectrum disorder.

“The idea with Social Sensory Surfaces is to try and reimagine an interface that can foster social interaction and can support the magnitude of sensory experience that is necessary to engage a child with autism.”

 Sean Ahlquist, University of Michigan

Researchers at the University of Michigan are studying new therapies to help children with autism. So-called “Social Sensory Surfaces” combine flexible fabrics, computer sensors, and light projections to offer a variety of tactile experiences. Sean Ahlquist is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan, and one of the primary investigators of the Social Sensory Surfaces project. He tells WDET’s Eli Newman that immersive connection is paramount to autism therapy.

Check out a video of the Social Sensory Surfaces project below:


  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.