'My Special Aflac Duck' is a robot to help kids with cancer

CNET | 1/10/2018 | Patrick Holland
jster97 (Posted by) Level 3
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My Special Aflac Duck won the 2018 CES Tech For A Better World Award.

At CES it's impossible not to see a robot. There are robots that walk, ones that pour coffee and even one that is a suitcase designed to follow you. But there is one that stands above the rest, or rather under the rest -- about knee height. It's a social robot duck designed to help children facing cancer. It's called My Special Aflac Duck.

Aflac - Zany - Commercials - Duck - Company

Aflac is widely known for its zany commercials especially those with a duck that quacks the company's name. The insurance company also has a long history of supporting families facing childhood cancer and have spent over $120 million toward the cause.

Aflac approached the health and research company Sproutel which made Jerry The Bear -- a comfort companion robot for kids with type-1 diabetes. The two companies sought to design a robotic comfort toy to help kids being treated for cancer.

Sproutel - Year - Journey - Children - Families

Sproutel spent a year exploring the journey that children, families and medical professionals take as kids face cancer and chemotherapy. Those studies and insights informed both the hardware and behavior design of My Special Aflac Duck. It's part toy, part robot and part medical device.

It has sensors that react to touch, a microphone and light sensor that adapt to different environments and adjust the duck's behavior. When you hold the duck, it is incredibly life-like with natural movements....
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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