Instead of using keyboards, mice and screens to interface with digital technology, children with autism are using stuffed toys and plants developed at Texas A&M University. “We are providing more natural interactions between people and technology through alternative materials for computing,” said Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, assistant professor in the Department of Visualization. Project collaborators developed pieces that are a hit with autistic youngsters who sometimes resist social touching or refrain from touching objects that, based on their appearance, seem threatening. “A cat pillow that glowed with embedded LED lights, vibrated gently and made simple sounds when it was touched was very popular,” said Seo. “Kids touched it, hugged it and wanted to take it home with them.” Interactions with the cat pillow and toys like it could be a boon to autistic children’s development, she added. To book an interview with a project development team member, contact Phillip Rollfing, College of Architecture, [email protected], 979-458-0442