MEDi Robot Makes Doctor Visits Less Painful for Children

A high tech robot named MEDi is being used to help children deal with pain and stress of doctor's visits, and so far, it's a hit. 

The technology was developed to help children cope with a fear of needles and pain involved in various procedures. 

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Dr. Tanya Beran of the University of Calgary, who developed the robot said, "Research suggests that 50 percent of children have severe anxiety and fear when it comes to needles."

She said those feelings and fears could last into adulthood and prevent people from going to the doctor. 

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Kids are able to interact with MEDi while getting their flu vaccinations, blood tests and other procedures.

MEDi can speak, walk, grab objects, point and do high fives. The robot is programmed to speak 19 languages and can adapt to different cultures. MEDi can recognize faces, voices and patterns of behavior. He knows when children begin to cry and interacts with them to comfort and distract them.

Dr. Beran said, "Parents told us that when they left the hospital, their children said almost nothing about the needle and told everyone they could about the robot." 

MEDi is helping kids from two-years-old up to 16 and families are driving several miles to see MEDi.