A robotic duck at CES is stealing the show for it's ability to help kids with cancer. The duck has won two awards, the tech for better world award, an innovation award, and is still up for two other awards.
Sproutel is the company that made the duck, and Aflac sponsored the entire creation process. Together the companies spent 18 months, working with children undergoing chemotherapy to figure out what kids need and want in a companion, during the difficult time. The My Special Aflac Duck is what they came up with.
"To see kids undergoing treatment respond to this, I'm just so humbled to be involved," Sproutel employee Dan Polanek said.
The duck cuddles, waddles, breathes and even has a heartbeat. And because children going through cancer have a difficult time expressing their emotions, the duck helps them do it.
"These little emotion cards, you put the emotion cards here, and the duck responds," Polanek said.
The emotions range from happy to angry, to sick. When you place the card in front of the duck's chest, the duck acts out the emotion, so the child doesn't have to.
One of the most difficult parts for children undergoing chemotherapy is undoubtedly the actual process, and their duck is there for them through that as well.
"Children who are undergoing chemo actually have a port on their body and it's how they get the medicine, so he has one too so he can get the medicine too," Polanek said.
While this may seem like just a robot, this duck is so much more, it's a robot that actually shares in a child's experience.
"It's a joke that this is the only product that won't be sold at CES, this will be given away to the 15,000 children every year who are diagnosed with cancer free of charge."
Aflac plans to begin giving out the My Special Aflac Duck in the coming months.
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