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article imageDiabetes robot developed to help children

By Tim Sandle     Mar 2, 2016 in Health
Hatfield - A robot, designed to mimic having diabetes, has been created. The cartoon-like character is designed to help children recognize symptoms of the condition.
The robot is called Robin, an abbreviation for "Robot Infant." He has been put together at the University of Hertfordshire, U.K. The robot is aimed at children aged between seven and 12 years old, to help them manage diabetes. The idea is that children bond with the robot, learn about the condition of diabetes, become prompted to take their medication at the right time, and have something they can befriend in order to share the experience with. An interactive device was considered a good way to achieve this.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 stems from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Consequently, the lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose. It is a disease that manifests during childhood. The condition is addressed through the injection of insulin. Good diet and regular activity also help with the management of the condition.
The robot is capable of uttering simple phrases like "hungry" and "hug me." The robot was the brainchild of Dr Lola Canamero and Dr Matthew Lewis. The robot can waddle, play, dance, ask for hugs, and, most importantly, indicate when insulin is required.
The robot costs just under £6,000 ($9,000). The robot was developed as part of the ALIZ-E program, a European Union initiative for developing small social robots designed to educate young people in different ways.
Simon O'Neill, as spokesperson for Diabetes U.K., enthused to the BBC: ""It's really exciting to see this type of technology being used to help children accept and become more confident about their diabetes."
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