“My Special Aflac Duck,” a Robot Companion for Children with Cancer

Insurance company Aflac and health research company Sproutel unveiled a robot duck companion at this year’s CES, made for children going through cancer treatment. More than just a plush toy, the animated robot features a chest sensor with a chemotherapy PICC line attachment. This allows children to witness their toy friend go through the same treatment as themselves, and offers emotional support. Further, there’s a light on the duck’s chest where kids affix one of several RFID-enabled “feeler cards” that represent different emotions, allowing children to declare how their pet feels, potentially mirroring their own state. Beyond that, the life-like and cuddly robot needs an attentive caretake and quacks away while being fed and bathed. It’s a friend in a time of need. Each duck costs approximately $200, but Aflac will donate them at no cost to any child recently diagnosed with cancer. Read more at CNET.