North American

New Product Innovation Award

2015

How does a robot reduce children's pain?

MEDi is programmed to use a variety of child friendly cognitive-behavioral strategies that are known to work. When we teach these to children, they tend to forget to use them, and when we teach them to parents, they tend to use them in an ineffective way. MEDi delivers the intervention in exactly the way we program it to.

Is MEDi effective simply because it's novel? Would repeated use of MEDi with the same children still have an effect?

Since MEDi has numerous capabilities, it can do something different every time it visits with a child. Each interaction with a child can be unique.

Are any children afraid of MEDi?

​When children meet MEDi, they typically look to the adults to see if they are allowed to touch its body. Most children give MEDi a ‘high five’ when invited.

​Why are hospitals using MEDi to interact with children while they are having non-painful medical procedures like x-ray and EEG tests?

Many children experience extreme distress during procedures because they don’t know if it will hurt. They may expect the worst. MEDi helps children manage their fear of pain.


How can MEDi help in counselling?


Our early research showed that the vast majority of children would tell a robot a secret. Counselors can type any question into the table that the robot will then ask a child. Using the robot as a medium for communication helps children share embarrassing or hurtful information. MEDi also refers to children by name, which creates instant rapport.