CHICAGO – The renowned Aflac insurance mascot is now being utilized with augmented reality to provide comfort to patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“My Special Aflac Duck” is bringing smiles and relief to young patients at the hospital as it becomes a cuddly companion for kids in need. These animatronic social robot ducks are being deployed as a means to provide comfort to children dealing with cancer and sickle cell disease.
What makes these ducks even more special is that they feature a set of emotion buttons. These buttons allow children to express their feelings without the need for spoken words. The buttons enable the youngsters to communicate emotions such as happiness, fear, anxiety, or silliness with their healthcare providers.
Additionally, the ducks come with a corresponding app-based virtual world. This interactive virtual space allows kids to engage in various creative activities, such as creating music, making paintings, and even caring for and feeding the duck. It offers a valuable distraction that allows children to mentally escape from the hospital environment, offering moments of joy and relief during difficult times.
When these special ducks were distributed to patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital, their faces lit up with smiles and cheers. For children like Abbey, who has been battling Leukemia, the presence of “My Special Aflac Duck” has made a significant difference in their hospital experience.
Aflac has been dedicated to providing these special ducks at no cost to children in need. To date, they have distributed these comforting companions to 25,000 children, with young patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital being the latest recipients.