An ‘anti-stress’ robot car for sick children – Traffic

An ‘anti-stress’ robot car for sick children – Traffic
An ‘anti-stress’ robot car for sick children – Traffic

“Using a robotic car we try to minimize the stress that children feel before surgery,” Jordi Albo, co-principal investigator of the project.

An international team of researchers, in collaboration with the Sant Joan de Déu hospital in Barcelona, ​​has developed a small robotic vehicle that reduces stress in boys and girls between 3 and 10 years old who are going to undergo surgical interventions.

The first results of this pilot experience “show that this type of robots can be an effective tool to reduce anxiety and fear before surgery in children and an alternative to the medication that is usually used to calm them down”they say from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

“Children arrive at the hospital, which is a hostile environment for them. All of this creates stress that, in the long run, can end up causing chronic pain. Using a robotic car we try to minimize the stress that children feel during this process”explained Jordi Albo, co-principal investigator of the project.

The prototype used in this pilot experience has been manufactured by Hyundai and tested in Sant Joan de Déu with 86 boys and girls who underwent surgery between 2020 and 2023. Both healthcare personnel and experts in affective computing, social robotics, data science, sensor design, machine learning and computer vision.

Images: Sant Joan de Deu/Hundai

“We have equipped our robotic car with sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This allows the car to capture the child’s facial expressions, heart or breathing rate and indicators of their emotional state, and can adapt to how the child feels. the child feels by changing music or colors, or emitting smells to help him or her relax.”says UOC researcher Ágata Lapedriza.

“Entering the operating room by car has positive effects on both children and parents. It gave the boys and girls the feeling of control, that they were the ones driving and that they were actively participating in the process without realizing it. , in a playful way”says Carmen Jerez, pediatric nurse from Sant Joan de Déu.

You can visit our traffic section and more information on the DGT website.

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