Meet Huggable, the interactive robot providing comfort and fun to paediatric cancer patients

By Maria Kyriacou

Meet Huggable, the interactive robot providing comfort and fun to paediatric cancer patients
This plush Interactive robot is meeting the emotional needs of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Who knew robots could offer such comfort! The Huggable is a robotic companion created to assist children with cancer and their families mitigate stress, pain and the anxiety associated with treatment.

Currently being trialled at the Boston Children’s Hospital, the plush robot has become an integral part of the children’s team. As part of a project to assess whether patients emotionally connect with interactive robots, plush teddy bears or virtual characters on screens, the former is coming out on top.

The developers Personal Robotics Group, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used Android smartphone technology to create the robot so that its movements could be controlled in a small space.

Research specialist Sooyeong Jeong said, “That’s how the robot became smaller and more mobile so we can actually put it right by the bedside.”

Several research studies have demonstrated that children undergoing treatment tend to minimize their emotional distress and are at risk of suffering from anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Huggable is a ray of hope, heralding a new era for the emotional wellbeing of the youngest patients with the most serious conditions.

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