Child’s diabetes is a complicated chronic disease. These children have difficulties in maintaining their blood sugar level stable. Besides food other elements like, movement, hormones and emotions do influence their blood sugar level. On a daily basis the children need to count their carbohydrates, eat healthy food, they must exercise enough and frequently measure their blood sugar level and inject insulin.

Robot Charlie introduces himself
In this video Charlie introduces himself and explains what he can mean for children with a chronic disease like diabetes.

How does robot Charlie assist children who suffer from diabetes?
Daily entering the blood sugar levels in a diary helps to control the diabetes, but most of the children have no desire to do this. Previous study by TNO shows us that keeping a diary together with a robot is fun and helpful and lively conversations arise between the robot and the child.

Robot Charlie is a virtual buddy suited for children who suffer from diabetes. Both in the hospital and at home Charlie teaches the children to deal with their disease on an independent and good way. He plays games and carries on conversations, in this way he teaches children more of diabetes and everything involved with it. He also stimulates the children to keep a diabetes-diary. Together with the care givers the children determine certain goals. Charlie then plays a quiz with them to reach these goals. The care providers and the parents have insights in the progression the child makes.

 

Robot-Charlie-TNO
Source: TNO

Meander Medical Centre is one of the hospitals that take part in the experiment. On a yearly base they treat 222 children and teenagers who suffer from diabetes. At this moment, 15 of these patients are participating in the experiment.

The results of the experiment are expected mid June 2016.

In the hospital they get to know Charlie in two sessions. After this they will get a tablet to take home. At home Charlie appears on the screen of the tablet and they can proceed with their games and exercises. The results of the experiment are expected mid June 2016.

European experiment TNO
In an European experiment of TNO called PAL4U-project (Personal Assistant for a healthy Lifestyle) the behavior of the robot, and virtual buddy, is being developed. During this four year project the cycle of development and evaluation will be undergone three times, where the target population will be wider, the duration of the tests will be longer and the measurements will be more oriented towards changes of behavior. Hospitals Meander Medical Centre (Dutch) and Gelderse Vallei (Dutch) participated in this experiment as well as a hospital in Milan.

Sources: TNO | Meander Medisch Centrum