SARA – Stylized Animations for Research on Autism 

Reading emotional states in other people's faces is one of the impairments faced by people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This conveys an inability to relate to others in a socially meaningful way.

One reason for this difficulty might be the amount of details conveyed by the human face, as well as the focus of attention on the other's face (i.e. in which part of the face an individual with ASD fixes his eyes when interacting with another person).


The DFG-funded project SARA aims to investigate in a novel and artistic way the causes for deficits in social communication and emotion recognition in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It brings together the areas: clinical psychology, character animation and computer graphics, providing the framework to carry out novel and interdisciplinary research.


One of the novelties and main focus of the project is the real-time generation, parameterization and stylization of emotional facial expressions of virtual characters, the latter achieved using Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR) algorithms. Using different versions of the DECT (Dynamic Emotion Categorization Test), an interaction with a virtual characters is established, allowing us to test the ability of children and young teenagers with these neurodevelopmental disorders to read emotional states in the face of the characters.


To download SARA Frapper Deploy  go to Tools section.