A new non-pharmacological method of distraction was tested with 57 children during their annual flu vaccination. Given children’s growing enthusiasm for technological devices, a humanoid robot was programmed to interact with them while a nurse administered the vaccination. Children smiled more often with the robot, as compared to the control condition, but they did not cry less. Parents indicated that their children held stronger memories for the robot than for the needle, wanted the robot in the future, and felt empowered to cope. The authors concluded that children and their parents respond positively to a humanoid robot at the bedside.
Beran, Tanya N., Ramirex-Serrano, Alex, Vanderkooi, Otto G., and Kurn, Susan. (2015). Humanoid robotics in health care: An exploration of children’s and parents’ emotional reactions. Journal of Health Psychology, 7, 984-989.