The T.Jacket is a tablet or smartphone-controlled jacket that uses embedded air pockets to simulate hugs and calm children without human contact.
Toys designed specifically with autistic children in mind – such as the Auti – can help to make them feel more comfortable in their environment and improve their social behavior. With similar aims, the T.Jacket is a tablet-controlled jacket that uses embedded air pockets to simulate hugs and calm children without human contact. The jacket is based on ‘deep pressure theory’, which suggests that pressure has a soothing effect on children with autism or attention deficit disorders who don’t process sensory information in the same way as those without the condition. Pockets of air are lined around the waist and shoulders of the jacket and – when instructed to do so via an app – inflate to produce the effect of a hug. For autistic children, the jacket provides the sensations involved with a hug without the potentially distressing human interaction. Parents or guardians can set the amount of pressure through the app and can also control multiple jackets with one device, for cases when they’re looking after more than one child. Sensors in the apparel also offer feedback on activity levels to help users determine when to best deploy a hug. The following video explains more about how the T.Jacket works: Although initially developed with autistic children in mind, the T.Jacket may have a wider application for parents with jobs that require them to spend time away from home or education settings where teacher-child contact is increasingly disallowed for safety reasons. The jackets are available to pre-order for USD 399 and are currently compatible with the iPad, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Note II. Are there other ways to reduce the pressure on parents – especially those caring for less able children – using new technology? Spotted by: Lily Dixon