Sheffield Children’s Hosts Robot Research Study
Meet Brandon and Pepper the Robot, who met at Medical Daycare as part of a pilot project looking into the usage of social robotics in hospitals. Previous research have indicated that social robots those that engage with humans through speech and motions can assist to alleviate these feelings in children who visit the hospital.
Brenda Littler, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, is leading this study, which is funded by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Brenda is looking into the different forms of interactions that social robots have with children aged five to twelve, as well as the emotional impact of meeting them.
Brandon, ten, comes to Sheffield Children’s Hospital every two weeks for treatment of his eczema, which he has had since he was two years old. Eczema is a skin ailment that causes itchy, dry, cracked, and painful skin. Brandon’s meetings are usually four to five hours long, but meeting the robots has made them a lot more fascinating! Pepper, a towering humanoid robot, and MiRo, an animal-like robot, were two of the robots he encountered.
“Pepper is my favorite because it can play the saxophone and is incredibly humorous,” Brandon remarked. MiRo’s squishy ears were also a hit! ” MiRo can make animal-like sounds and has sensory and motor abilities, while Pepper can move, communicate, and even dance.
“Taking part in research has been incredibly exciting,” Brandon’s mother, Leanne, said. Brandon was so excited to meet the robots at his appointments that he requested if he could take Pepper home with him! Brandon thought it was fantastic when Pepper told him a story, danced with him, and followed him around.
“Brandon’s eczema flares off and off, but it’s been particularly terrible in the last two years.” I have eczema and was treated at Sheffield Children’s when I was younger, so I wanted Brandon to be seen here as well. I can’t say enough good things about the staff, especially Abbie and Laura, who we visit at Medical Daycare, and Brenda, the researcher.” The robots also went to the Theatre Admissions Unit, the Haematology and Oncology Unit, and Ward 3 at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“Conducting research at Sheffield Children’s has been a great experience,” Brenda remarked. Everyone has been so helpful and encouraging. I’ve met incredible medical experts that genuinely care about their patients and are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these children.” Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University collaborated on the initiative.