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Robot for kids fighting cancer wins award at CES 2018

The comforting power of companionship is My Special Aflac Duck’s specialty. This innovative friend is designed to help kids cope with cancer.

This new social robot is a new tool for kids with cancer. It mimics natural movement and has soothing sounds and rythyms. Kids can care for the duck by soothing it, bathing it and giving it medicine.

This can be a big help for the kids and their families. Duck helps them communicate their emotions by tapping emotion cards to the bird’s chest.

“If she had something to sit with her, something that could take her through it (cancer), a friend that will always be there. That would help a lot of kids,” said mother of a patient kid.

My Special Aflac Duck is a smart comforting companion that helps children feel less alone by using interactive technology during their cancer treatment.  The smart companion emulates young patients’ moods, endures the same often-painful therapies, and dances, quacks and nuzzles to help comfort children when they need it most.

The duck is a winner of Consumer Technology Association Innovation Award, and Best of Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 Award for ‘Best Unexpected Product’.

At CES 2018, Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. “Receiving this award confirms our core belief that investing in creating tangible ways to improve our world is good for our communities and our business, and we invite others to support this worthy cause.”

The smart companion was created by Sproutel, a research and development workshop focused on making health care playful, based on a year of child-centered research conducted by Sproutel at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the most prominent children’s cancer facilities in the nation, caring for more than 400 new childhood cancer patients each year.

Earlier in the week, My Special Aflac Duck was recognized as the winner of the prestigious “Tech for a Better World” CES Innovation Award and the IHS Markit Innovation Award for Robotics and Drones at CES 2018.

“It is humbling to be recognized among the impressive innovations at CES and gratifying that this new robotic companion can make a real difference in the lives of children who have cancer,” said Aaron Horowitz, CEO and co-founder of Sproutel.

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Aaron Horowitz, CEO and co-founder of Sproutel, and Jon Sullivan, director of Corporate Communications at Aflac, accept the Best of CES 2018 Award for Best Unexpected Product for My Special Aflac Duck on Thursday, Jan. 11 in Las Vegas.

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