Projet Tech-Toys
  • Research

Improving the Detection of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The international Tech-Toys project, led by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service, the PIRoS team at ISIR and the Origyne Medical University Department, has won the European call for proposals for PerMed2021. Its objective is to improve the early detection and management of neurodevelopmental disorders. 

One in ten children in the West has a neurodevelopmental disorder. These disorders, which have significant individual, family, and societal implications, typically affect multiple developmental domains, including sensory-motor, cognitive, communication, learning, and behavior. Despite their better understanding, diagnosis and management of these disorders are often delayed, several months after the first clinical signs are observed. Their early detection is one of the main challenges in pediatrics today because early intervention improves the prognosis.

For this reason, Prof. David Cohen, head of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, and Prof. Mohamed Chetouani of the PIRoS team at ISIR  have developed the international research project Tech-Toys, in partnership with the Stella Maris Foundation in Pisa, the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Technical University of Istanbul. “We have been working for many years with the PIRoS team on new technologies and on understanding and modeling social signals and human interactions in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders," explains David Cohen. “We have created a dedicated space with experimental test rooms and robotics within my department. We have already conducted several research projects together. Thanks to this long collaboration, we were able to set up the Tech-Toys project, with the goal of providing new tools for the analysis and modeling of infant behavior and interactions during neurodevelopment."

The Tech-Toys project is based on toys developed by the Italian start-up Khymia and the Stella Maris Foundation in Pisa, which are adapted to the infant's natural environment and equipped with motion and pressure sensors. By using these toys, researchers will be able to follow infants at high risk  of developing developmental disorders while in their family environment. They will be recruited in the neonatology unit of Prof. Laurence Foix-L'Hélias of the ORIGYNE medical-university department. For one year, the researchers will collect data on the babies' fine and early motor development, as well as on gaze, prosody and social competence, in their natural interactions with parents. "From this data, which will be analyzed by new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, we will be able to identify dysfunctional clues in motor skills and interaction that are predictive of pejorative developments," explains the psychiatrist. These clues will allow us to develop specific data profiles (numerical biomarkers) for the main neurodevelopmental disorders. These numerical biomarkers will then be tested and compared with standardized clinical scales and neuropediatric and child psychiatric assessment of infants. At the end of the project, researchers using AI will evaluate which combination of biomarkers produces the best prediction for early detection of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the first months of life.

The data will then be provided to clinicians (pediatricians, neuropediatricians, child psychiatrists), so that they can monitor children's neurodevelopment and begin tailored and personalized early intervention. "In the first months of life, brain plasticity is high. Therefore, the earlier, the more intensive and the more adapted the intervention, the more we can change the trajectories of the children". The results of the project will open up new horizons for the early, personalized and home-based detection of neurodevelopmental disorders as well as the optimization of their management.

1 Mohamed Chetouani is a member of the PIRoS team and is in charge of the national action on autism and new technologies within the framework of the fourth Autism Plan. He coordinates the Living & Learning Lab Neurodevelopment (LiLLaB) of the National Strategy for Autism.

2 The Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics (Sorbonne University, CNRS, Inserm).

3 Extremely premature babies and newborns with brain damage and/or suffering.


Discover our courses catalog


The Faculty of Medicine teaches the 3 cycles of medical studies: from PASS (integrated into the faculty) to the 3rd cycle including DES, DESC, DU and DIU. The lessons are given mainly on two sites: Pitié-Salpêtrière and Saint-Antoine. The faculty also provides paramedical education: speech therapy, psychomotricity and orthoptics. The Saint-Antoine site includes a midwifery school.

at the faculty of medicine

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students and offers them a wide range of training as well as support adapted to their profile and their project.

Associative life

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students.

21 393


17 527



Doctors in medecine and research


Research centers

Welcome to Sorbonne University's Faculty of Science & Engineering

Our Latest News

See All

A unique combination of courses and expertise

Our international study programmes are organised according to the major disciplinary areas of the faculty. They represent the graduate study programmes that are not strictly conducted in French or that could be suitable (in part) for non French-speaking students. They also reflect part of the diversity of the disciplines involved and the bi- and inter-disciplinary aspects of many of the courses we offer.


Research & Innovation

We rely on disciplinary skills and on interdisciplinary approaches to renew concepts, methods and research subjects and to focus on some of the crucial issues faced by our societies: transformations affecting the very construction of knowledge (data, AI), the treatment of complex objects (the environment, marine and ocean sciences, cultural heritage) or our contributions to addressing societal challenges (climate change, healthcare).

Study at
The Faculty of Science & Engineering

Our campuses offer different and unique experiences to our students, visitors and staff. Resources and support services are also available to ensure an equal chance at success to all.

Campus Life

In addition to the cultural activities and events organised throughout the year by our clubs and societies, the Parismus society organises numerous events, evenings and cultural visits that will help you discover France and its parisian life.







Sorbonne University's Faculty of Science & Engineering, Oriented towards excellence