High-Fiving Robot Calms Kids While They Get Shots

July 15, 2013


In an incredibly rare example of robots being used for good instead of evil, Soother-Bot is a little humanoid robot designed to keep kids calm and distracted while they get shots at the doctor's. Man, when I was growing up I didn't have anything to distract me besides my dad yelling, "JESUS, THAT NEEDLE'S THE SIZE OF A NINJA SWORD!"

The robot, named MEDi, is programmed to greet a child with a high-five, collect toys from a tray and ask questions like "Do you like movies?" Children who engaged with the robot while receiving a flu shot had much less pain and distress than children who got a shot the usual way, according to a study published in the June issue of Vaccine.

It's the first robot to help children manage painful medical procedures," said Tanya Beran, a professor of community health sciences at the University of Calgary in Alberta and the principal investigator of the study, which was conducted at Alberta Children's Hospital. Research suggests that children who experience distress in a medical setting at a young age are less likely to access health care in adulthood, so she says it's important to find ways to reduce pain during pediatric care.

Ahahahhahaha, I must have experienced some SERIOUS distress in a medical setting as a kid because I never go to the doctor unless I'm for-real dying. I have to be genuinely concerned death is a real possibility to go to the doctor's, and even then I'll sit in the car hyperventilating for a half hour before I can work up the courage to go in. No lie, the last time I went to the doctor I got lightheaded and passed out trying to produce a urine sample (I think I locked my knees) and a nurse found me there on the bathroom floor, penis still in my hand.

Thanks to Tallon, who hates going to the doctor so much he tries making his own medicine at home and gets even sicker.

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