A research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology just unveiled a new robotic toy to help young children cope with long-term hospitalization.
The interactive toy, dubbed the Huggable, is essentially a robotic, blue and green teddy bear that, according to the creators, “mitigate[s] stress, anxiety, and pain in pediatric patients by engaging them in playful interactions.”
Smartphone technology controls the teddy's movements and actions while sensors, cameras and microphones inside the bear process the user's reactions, allowing the bear to "respond" accordingly.
The team — along with researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and Northeastern University — is currently testing patient response to the Huggable in an experimental study.
If successful, it is likely the bear, or technology similar to it, will become more widely available for pediatric patients.
Check out the Huggable in action above.