Social robots, or the support for children in pediatric units. Huggable, a robot created by the Boston Children’s Hospital and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has been tested with children and the results have been positive: more positive emotions in sick patients.
First of all, it has been tested that this social robot could integrate with the intervention. On a second phase, some children had the chance to play with Huggable and they got to emotionally connect with the robot. They moved around more, and felt less pain. They spoke more and interact both with families and the robot in a spontaneous way. All these results could support children in faster recovery.
This social robot, as per all robots, is designed to support the health care specialist, as the relationship between child-Huggable is helpful in understanding how to improve the quality care of a patient.
Huggable is a plush teddy bear, with a screen depicting animated eyes. It is operated by a remote controller, but the aim is to be fully autonomous. The operator talks through a speaker and can monitor the child thanks to the camera, or move the social robot with remote controls.
Aim of this social robot is not just supporting the child in socializing, but even to constantly monitor his/her health, in order to react promptly.