A Social Robot to Mitigate Stress, Anxiety, and Pain in Hospital Pediatric Care

Jeong, Sooyeon, et al. "A social robot to mitigate stress, anxiety, and pain in hospital pediatric care." Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction Extended Abstracts. ACM, 2015.


Children and their parents may undergo challenging experiences when admitted for inpatient care at pediatric hospitals. While most hospitals make efforts to provide socio-emotional support for patients and their families during care, gaps still exist between human resource supply and demand. The Huggable project aims to close this gap by creating a social robot able to mitigate stress, anxiety, and pain in pediatric patients by engaging them in playful interactive activities. In this paper, we introduce a larger experimental design to compare the effects of the Huggable robot to a virtual character on a screen and a plush teddy bear, and provide initial qualitative analyses of patients’ and parents’ behaviors during intervention sessions collected thus far. We demonstrate preliminarily that children are more eager to emotionally connect with and be physically activated by a robot than a virtual character, illustrating the potential of social robots to provide socio-emotional support during inpatient pediatric care.

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