Thanks to the generosity of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook Children’s has a new interactive robot for patients. The robot, which has yet to be named, can follow a child’s commands from a simple control tablet.
Children in isolation can personalize the robot with their own image and likeness and then have it take a stroll through the children’s hospital. Children can track its progress remotely around the hospital hallways via the tablet.
One of the many lessons that COVID has taught us is that isolation can have a significant impact on mental health and recovery. Now, whether children are isolating due to COVID precautions, because of their own medical needs, or just need some extra company, the robot can enable a visit from a special guest. Special visitors can take control of the robot and visit remotely. This means that a sports player, celebrity, or pet therapy dog, can roll up the corridor to visit a child from a location outside of the hospital.
Joan Alpers, Director of Child Life Services, says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to expand the control and freedom of children whose world has become smaller due to illness or hospitalization. When special guests aren’t able or permitted to visit with our patients, this will allow us to "invite" them to meet with our children in a virtual and fun way.”
Brookhaven Lab staff became involved because they just wanted to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Donating the robot has provided the opportunity to add adventure and scientific fun to children struggling with hospitalization and illness.
We are grateful to the staff of Brookhaven National Lab for this wonderful donation.