Extra: Robot ‘Therapy Duck’ Comforts Kids With Cancer

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A plush, robotic duck may soon become a fixture in the world of children who have cancer. The social robot is modeled after the duck mascot for the insurance company, Aflac, which paid for its development.



A plush, robotic duck may soon become a fixture in the world of children with cancer. The social robot can be silly, happy, angry, scared or sick just like them, and help them cope with their illness through the power of play.

Aaron Horowitz was diagnosed with a debilitating condition as a child. He and his Rhode Island-based company Sproutel developed the emotional support robot to help children manage stress and change the way they deal with their health.

The American Cancer Society says almost 11,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with cancer yearly.

The duck is modeled after the mascot for insurance company Aflac, which paid for its development. Beginning later this year, the ducks will be distributed free to kid patients.

The duck’s expected to be featured Monday at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.

Robot 'Therapy Duck'

In this undated photo made from video, 12-year-old cancer patient Ethan Daniels at medical facility in Atlanta speaks with Aaron Horowitz, co-founder and CEO of Sproutel, who designed “My Special Aflac Duck” to promote emotional well-being by helping children living with cancer develop a sense of control and manage stress through interactive technology. (AP Photo/Marina Hutchinson)


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