Via IEEE Spectrum.
Nobody (almost nobody) likes getting stabbed with needles, and kids seem to especially hate it. Getting vaccinated is an unpleasant process for everyone concerned, including the kids, their anxious parents, and nurses and physicians who are just trying to do their job. There are ways to coach all parties involved to be better at dealing with scary and painful procedures, and that’s where robots might help. Robots, with the proper programming, have proven (like, peer-reviewed proven) that they can be very effective pain coaches.
RxRobots, a spin-out of the University of Calgary, is using Nao robots to help coach kids through simple medical procedures that are likely to cause them pain and distress, like anything that involves needles. It’s not just that kids don’t like getting vaccinated; some of them scream, puke, or attempt to flee and have to be restrained. According to RxRobots, studies have shown that kids who have a traumatic experience like this will be less likely to seek out medical care when they get older.
Here’s RxRobots’ Nao, which they named MEDi, in action: