Pepper may stand a mere 4 feet tall and weigh only 62 pounds, but the Humber River Hospital is hoping that the little robot can create some pretty big smiles.
The Hospital has partnered with SoftBank Robotics America to launch a pilot program with a humanoid robot named Pepper, the first hospital in Canada to pilot this technology. “We are always working to elevate the patient and visitor experience at our hospital” says Barbara Collins, President and CEO at Humber, “Pepper will help create positive and memorable experiences.”
Pepper can provide visitors and patients with directions, strike up a conversation, lead an impromptu dance party, and most importantly, decrease the anxiety of hospitalized children.
There are two Pepper robots in the hospital. One greets patients and acts as a guide, engaging and entertaining patients and visitors as they enter the hospital’s main entrance hall.
The second robot will support children and their families as part of Humber’s Child Life Program. Pepper is an emotionally sensitive robot who talks, dances, plays games, reads stories and acts as a source of emotional support for sick children.
The program is hoping to eventually use Pepper for even more complex tasks. Child Life specialist Alexandra Christofides says that the Hospital is “working towards using Pepper as the prep doll so we can integrate him into our Child Life intervention so he’s not just there for entertainment. We’ll use him as an actual therapeutic intervention tool so we’re really excited about developing his software.”
We’re also excited to see how this program develops and will keep you updated.
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