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A professor of medicine at the University of Calgary has discovered an entirely new way to use robot technology. Dr. Tanya Beran was looking for a way to reduce anxiety in young patients, particularly children who have extreme stress related to getting needles. She was particularly concerned because these same children have a greater tendency as adults to drop out of the health care system.

Dr. Beran decided to try using a French robot which she named MEDi robot to distract kids while they were getting vaccines. They ran a series of test groups where some of the kids got to hang with a robot and the other kids didn’t.

How can the results be a surprise? Her theory worked: Kids who got to hang out with a high-fiving robot barely noticed that they were getting a shot.

This machine is highly skilled, receptive to facial features and thoughtful enough to remember names. The MEDi robot asks the kids to blow the dust off of a toy at the exact moment they are getting a needle – so they are also practicing pain relief techniques like deep breathing. But first the robot becomes their friend.

Here is the whole story of MEDi Robot:

And just for fun, here is MEDi Robot doing Tai Chi:

source: New York Times

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