ikki – Companion Therapy Robot for sick children

  • 2018

  • Next Gen

Designed By:

ikki is a companion therapy device to help children and clinicians dealing with childhood cancer. Ikki provides a bridge between the different groups using clinical data and communication technology while supporting and engaging the patient through games, calming ability, medication compliance and most importantly companionship.

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  • A large and increasing number of people suffering long term illness require ongoing support, monitoring, and companionship. In the current centralized health care system a gap exists between patients, clinicians, carers and family members. This disconnect can reduce the efficacy of treatments and the wellbeing of the patient, in a multitude of ways such as missed medication, irregular monitoring or simply a lack of understanding. Long term health care also places immense stress and pressure both emotionally and financially on the family unit and often isolates members from one another and for young children strips enormous amounts of freedom.

  • Ikki, a robust friend and companion which goes everywhere with the child, provides support, comfort and empowerment for kids with cancer between 2 and 7 years old.The design bridges the gap between hospital, home and school via the cloud, with clinically relevant information.The design caters to young children through its colourful soft belly panel and cleanable exterior. Ikki not only provides personal companionship, but using sounds, lights, tactile feedback and smartphone compatibility delivers clinical functionality. Ikki embodies a number of "off the shelf" low cost sensors which enable the various clinically relevant tasks to be carried out.

  • Ikki provides patients with an improved quality of healthcare by streamlining tasks, improving the clarity of information and by providing direct support and companionship. The device looks to improve clinical outcomes through simplifying the experience for patients, doctors, families, and the community around them. Within the complex treatment programs of many ongoing illnesses, the device focuses on the patient and their basic needs beyond the biological and medical treatment itself. Through clearer data, doctors are able to treat their patients more effectively, and by extending communication between home and hospital, the emotional toll on sick kids and families is reduced.

  • An infra-red temperature sensor is embedded behind the character's translucent face which measures the child's temperature without the need for direct contact with a traditional thermometer. Ikki prompts the child to check their temperature through sound and flashing lights. This effectively streamlines temperature checks and brings empowerment to the child within this ritual. For children without an effective immune system (undergoing chemotherapy) regular temperature checks are important as detecting an overwhelming infection early is key to survival. A guided breathing sequence accompanied by lights and sounds helps to calm a child during uncomfortable procedures, such as bone marrow transplants. The device also has a simple RFID reader within the face / mouth area into which children can "feed" ikki a fish RFID tag in conjunction with taking their own medication. This role play further extends the empowerment of the child as medicine time becomes a shared experience for the child and shifts the decision making from a "yes or no?" issue into a "who first?" In complex cases of ongoing treatment for outpatients up to 12 different medications are required for one child per day. The RFID tag helps to ensure correct dosage and is able to log data.