Emotional support robot Robin headed to UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital


In a nine-week learn about of interactions with hospitalized kids, ages 4 to 12, pleasure higher 26% and rigidity was once diminished via 34%, in accordance to Expper Technologies.


Robin the robot gives help to UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital.

Image: Expper Technologies

Being hospitalized long-term as a kid is hectic, separated from house, their very own bedrooms, and frequently, their folks and caretakers. Now, a robot named Robin will supply emotional support to kids staying on the UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital on the University of California Los Angeles. Robin was once evolved and constructed via Expper Technologies, which creates and manufactures robots to ease a hospitalized baby’s misery and isolation.

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The coronavirus very much diminished human touch in hospitals to the minimal, particularly between clinical team of workers and hospitalized kids, due to fears of spreading COVID-19 to kids who had been specifically prone, mentioned writer Karen Khachikyan, CEO and founding father of Expper Technologies. 

Many amenities “were looking for a solution to provide emotional support to children,” Khachikyan mentioned. Robin “was a very timely solution” for UCLA pediatrics and is already at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) ready to be deployed in two weeks, he mentioned.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

The epiphany

Khachikyan mentioned he and his workforce discovered Robin’s complete possible when Sarah, 4, was once hospitalized with pneumonia and in for a long keep. 

“This is not something kids at a young age expect to undergo,” he mentioned. “That’s a lot of stress, which usually involves a loss of appetite and a feeling of loneliness.”

Sarah had “barely eaten anything in two days. She refused to walk around the ward or even talk with her family. The toughest task had become convincing her to eat. This was the moment to see Robin in action.”

“After playing with her for a while and discussing what Sarah loved, Robin told her that he needed to recharge its battery. Robin told her that he would come back if she recharged herself as well. Having heard that from someone who had become a ‘friend’ in a very short time convinced Sarah to start eating.”
Robin’s child-friendly design appeals to kids, he added. “Robin easily appeals to children. Through emotional conversations, Robin builds an empathetic connection, and behaves like an actual peer.” It performs interactive video games, tells humorous tales and jokes, and explains difficult procedures in an age-appropriate approach. 
“During the medical procedures, Robin distracts children and makes the procedures easier to undergo and can reduce the perception of pain. Robin can be utilized during procedures such as IV insertion, blood sampling, CT scanning.” While in hospital, Robin frequently visits kids and “helps them feel less isolated and lonely.” 

The preliminary learn about

A nine-week learn about the corporate carried out in February on the Wigmore Clinic in Yerevan, Armenia, demonstrated that Robin and its talent to supply mental-health care ended in an build up of 26% extra pleasure, and a 34% relief of rigidity. 

The pilot learn about happened in each inpatient and outpatient settings and concerned greater than 200 kids, 4 to 12, Khachikyan mentioned. 

Robin was once evolved in 2018, the usage of an AI-based patent-pending era to “establish peer-to-peer emotional interactions, to ameliorate the patient’s experience, to engage children, and foster communication. It analyzes facial expressions and remembers the context of conversations,” in accordance to the corporate.

Robin will get round by way of an omnidirectional wheel machine and will react naturally to eventualities and interactions with kids, because it makes use of its “face” to show feelings, and has quite a few expressions.

Made from totally recyclable bioplastic, the era at the back of Robin lets in it to construct an associative reminiscence and intelligently react to kids via replicating patterns shaped upon earlier reviews (kids’s feelings, patterns of dialog, facial expressions, behavioral patterns), Expper mentioned. In different phrases, Robin builds follow-up dialogues bearing in mind particular person options of a selected particular person. 

The workforce that created Robin was once constituted of the ones with experience in {hardware} design, electric engineering, device construction, system studying, and laptop imaginative and prescient; their “ultimate aim” Khachikyan mentioned, is “to bring positivity and optimism” to hospitalized kids and their folks, and “to make the medical practitioners’ work easier.”

Robin’s “first house” in america was once at ABC Kids Dental Clinic, and a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has begun; the purpose of which is in particular to deliver happiness to kids present process take care of most cancers. 

The survey effects had been from 424 respondents whose kids/wards had been handled for, or asked pediatric services and products, and 100% of those that interacted with Robin sought after to meet once more; 84.2% measured interacting with Robin as “very good.” 


Study effects discovered  that sure feelings rose in kids for ranges of

  • Happiness
  • Being
  • Excitement
  • Cheerful
  • Joyfulness

Negative feelings, similar to being anxious and being scared, had been diminished, because of interacting with Robin, mentioned Khachikyan.  

The inpatient services and products during which Robin was once deployed incorporated kids who underwent

  • Happiness
  • Being
  • Excitement
  • Cheerful
  • Joyfulness

Outpatient services and products during which Robin was once deployed incorporated kids who underwent

  • Sonography
  • CT scanning
  • Blood-sampling procedures
  • Short-term interventions

Intensive interviews with hospital team of workers and members of the family, a questionnaire to measure Robin’s intervention, and a telephone survey of 424 respondents who asked pediatric services and products, helped behavior the survey.

Data gathered

  • Behavioral knowledge (power degree, quantity of crying/screaming)
  • Observational knowledge (Approach of clinical team of workers and fogeys)
  • Procedure knowledge (quantity of gear, time process, and preparation)
  • Stress degree (Facial Affective Scale, PANAS-C)
  • Pain scale (Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale )

There are six Robin the Robots, with plans to frequently replace in accordance with knowledge gathered all the way through interactions, Khachikyan mentioned. Hospitals and clinics use a subscription provider to each document and replace knowledge, in addition to repairs. 

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