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Biomed Eng Online. 2016 Jul 15;15 Suppl 1:72. doi: 10.1186/s12938-016-0180-3.

Externalising moods and psychological states in a cloud based system to enhance a pet-robot and child's interaction.

Author information

Automatic Control Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Pau Gargallo 5, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.
Automatic Control Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Pau Gargallo 5, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.
La Salle BCN, Universitat Ramon Llull, Quatre Camins, 08022, Barcelona, Spain.
CEEO, Tufts University, 200 Boston Ave, Medford, MA, 02155, USA.
Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Rambla Exposició 59-69, 08800, Vilanova I La Geltrú, Spain.
Fluid Interfaces Group, MIT Media Laboratory, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.



This PATRICIA research project is about using pet robots to reduce pain and anxiety in hospitalized children. The study began 2 years ago and it is believed that the advances made in this project are significant. Patients, parents, nurses, psychologists, and engineers have adopted the Pleo robot, a baby dinosaur robotic pet, which works in different ways to assist children during hospitalization.


Focus is spent on creating a wireless communication system with the Pleo in order to help the coordinator, who conducts therapy with the child, monitor, understand, and control Pleo's behavior at any moment. This article reports how this technological function is being developed and tested.


Wireless communication between the Pleo and an Android device is achieved. The developed Android app allows the user to obtain any state of the robot without stopping its interaction with the patient. Moreover, information is sent to a cloud, so that robot moods, states and interactions can be shared among different robots.


Pleo attachment was successful for more than 1 month, working with children in therapy, which makes the investment capable of positive therapeutic possibilities. This technical improvement in the Pleo addresses two key issues in social robotics: needing an enhanced response to maintain the attention and engagement of the child, and using the system as a platform to collect the states of the child's progress for clinical purposes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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