The Aflac Duck Is Now a Robot That Helps Kids Face Cancer


The Aflac duck isn't just a duck on TV that quacks its companies nameā€”it's now a real life robot duck created to help kids face cancer. My Special Aflac Duck was introduced at CES, and it definitely lives up to its name.

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Aflac teamed up with health and research company Sproutel (maker of Jerry the Bear for kids with type 1 diabetes) to design a robotic comfort toy to help kids being treated for cancer.

Sproutel spent a year exploring what it's like for kids living with cancer, their parents, and medical professionals. Through their research, they were able to create the duck that's the perfect mix between a toy, a robot, and a medical device.

The duck has five touch sensors, making its movements completely lifelike. It dances, nuzzles, cuddles, and even has breath and heartbeat.

Kids can touch any of the RFID-enabled emoji cards on the duck's chest to express how they think the duck is feeling, which is usually a representation of their own feelings. The duck will emulate those feelings with a happy quack and dance or a sad quack with a droopy head. This gives kids a sense of having control over their feelings at a time when everything else is completely out of their control.

There's a chemotherapy PICC line attached to the chest sensor, allowing kids be there for their furry friend as it goes through the same treatment as them.

The duck costs around $200, but Aflac has committed to donating the ducks to any child with a recent cancer diagnoses.

Learn more about the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign here.

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