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New robot helps Calgary kids brave vaccinations

Getting a needle can be a very stressful thing for a child, but vaccines have become a little easier for one group of Calgary children, thanks to a high-tech friend.

A robot named Medi has been tasked with the very important job of keeping kids calm, cool and distracted during what would otherwise be a pretty scary experience.

Officials with Alberta Health Services say the child-like robot has the potential to comfort young patients during medical procedures, and even make their pain more tolerable.

A total of 57 children between the ages of four and nine were able to interact with Medi this winter, when they received their flu shots at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The kids reported feeling little to no pain, compared to youngsters who simply distracted themselves by viewing images on the clinic’s walls.

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The robot was purchased by the U of C’s Schulich School of Engineering from Aldebaran Robotics, and can be programmed to walk, dance, talk with children, play games with them, make eye contact and even give them a high-five.