CES18: My Special Aflac Duck. Robot to Support Children in Cancer Treatment

Among the smart gadgets presented at CES 2018, there were some really impressive ones. One of them was a robot from Aflac and Sproutel companies. It is developed to help little patients who are experiencing a difficult process of cancer treatment.

A cute robot friend

The name of the robot is “My Special Aflac Duck”. There are five sensors located on the duck. Therefore, when children hug it, the robot will quack. Accessories equipped with emoji are also included. Children can click on any of them to express how they feel this day. Then the robot will adjust its behaviour to their mood. Sproutel CEO Aaron Horowitz says that the aim is to make children feel that they are not alone.

Among the accessories there is also a kit created to simulate taking medications so that children are less frightened about treatment. The fur of the toy could be easily removed for washing. There is also the mode to soothe children and make them concentrate on breathing exercises while the duck’s head is making minor impulses.

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The latest RFID invention is a rocket ship. First, children have to choose the favourite destination – a circus, park, forest or garden… The Duck connects with an app and can “move” the children to a happy place through sounds.

What is most attractive about it is minimalism. Technically, it is not “smart” at all. There is no artificial intelligence or integrated voice assistant, it is impossible to play with it, there is no camera. Nevertheless, its functions are enough to calm the children in the bad times.

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Aflac says that they intend to provide a robot free of charge for children with cancer in the USA. First of all, they will test a toy at their cancer treatment centre in Atlanta, in partnership with other programs and hospitals. By the end of 2018, they promise to deliver the device to thousands of families.

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