Hospitals use robotic ducks to comfort kids

Two children's cancer centers in the U.S. plan to use robotic ducks designed by Aflac to comfort kids while they receive treatment, Engadget reports.

In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in September, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta sent its patients on a scavenger hunt to find their new "My Special Aflac ducks." The ducks are designed to be educational and therapeutic for the pediatric patients, and are equipped with radio-frequency identification-enabled emoji cards on their chests so patients can select a feeling they want the high-tech toy to reflect.

The patients can also use an RFID chip to pretend they are giving the duck chemotherapy. Parents can connect the ducks to an app that lets the kids bathe, feed and give medicine to the duck, as well.

The idea behind the program is that by caring for the robotic ducks, kids will feel a sense of control during their treatment.

Later in September, Aflac will provide therapy ducks to patients at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital in Columbia, S.C. Aflac hopes to expand the project across the U.S. in late 2018, and said it will give newly diagnosed kids aged 3 to 13 years of age a robotic duck for free.

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