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Digital Economy & Society

How MOnarCH and MBot improve hospitalised kids' quality of life

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MBot, a very smart and kind robot, who triggers smiles and makes life easier for hundreds of hospitalised children, will be greeting you at the European Commission's pavilion (Hall 4 at the Congress Square) at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

The robot will be running autonomously and greeting the visitors of the EC pavilion. It will detect the visitors; provide them with brief information on the EC mission (through synthesized voice) and invite them to go inside to find out more on EC-funded projects.

MOnarCH (Multi-Robot Cognitive Systems Operating in Hospitals) is an ongoing FP7 project aiming at introducing (social) robots in real human social environments with people, to analyze the establishment of relations between them. MBot, which plays and interacts with the children, was created by IDMind.

The robot is currently at the pediatric ward of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology Lisbon (IPOL) which is serving as case-study for the project. It runs autonomously there, alternating periods of behavior testing with periods of demonstration, under supervision from the project team.

The MBot is ready to go to the market. Its commercial exploitation is foreseen in two main directions: as an open platform for the research market and as a customized closed product to address specific applications where IDMind is currently involved. Mbot is composed of features making it an excellent choice for applications beyond this case-study.  

This project is a great first step. But there's still room for improvement in the near future. In the medium/long term, IDMind's vision is having robots in real social environments, such as hospitals, perform tasks like deliveries, and using a wide range of human-robot interactions.

Project website