We employ our empathy-driven methodology to provide
Here are some of our favorite experiments:
My Special Aflac Duck®
After 35 years and $165MM donated to pediatric cancer, Aflac wanted to expand their impact on families while telling an authentic story about their philanthropy.
We worked closely with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, collaborating with over 100 children and 35 doctors to bring Aflac’s brand mascot to life as a companion for children with cancer and blood disorders. Over 18 months we researched, designed, manufactured, and shipped My Special Aflac duck to families.
In 2021 we launched an updated version of My Special Aflac duck that caters specifically to the needs of children with sickle cell disease.
My Special Aflac duck is a social robot for children with cancer and sickle cell disease that provides comfort and joy. Children can use their duck to communicate their feelings to caregivers, engage in therapeutic simulated medical play, and entertain them during hospital stays.
• 3 point increase in Aflac’s RepTrack and Pulse Scores
• 14% awareness among Americans of My Special Aflac Duck
• 100% of those aware of the product reported that they were more likely to purchase Aflac products
• Over 18,000 duck’s distributed to date
• 93% of parents would recommend My Special Aflac Duck to other
parents of children with cancer
Research shows that My Special Aflac duck reduces distress during in-patient visits
(Miller TP, Klosky JL, Zamora F, Swift M, Mertens AC. Feasibility and acceptability of an animatronic duck intervention for promoting adaptation to the in-patient setting among pediatric patients receiving treatment for cancer. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019,66(12):e27984. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27984)
• The Washington Post: Children battling cancer can’t always express their feelings. Now a robotic duck is doing it for them.
• TIME: Best Inventions 2018: A Companion for Kids With Cancer
• U.S. News: A Fuzzy Fix: How ‘Social Toys’ Can Help Kids Battle Illness and Anxiety
• Engadget: This robot therapy duck comforts kids with cancer
My Special Aflac Duck is provided at no cost to both hospitals and families. If you are a hospital, parent, or caregiver you can request ducks here
Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes®
When children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes their lives are transformed. Families must rapidly adjust to the overwhelming task of daily diabetes management. How might we improve the lives of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Through interviews with families we uncovered our initial insight - children mirror their diabetes management routines with their stuffed animals. This kicked off over 29 iterations of the product and usability testing with over 350 families.
Rufus the Bear is an interactive stuffed animal for children with type 1 diabetes. Children care for Rufus by feeding him foods, checking his blood sugar, and administering insulin using the virtual medical tools in the mobile app. A series of 21 animated storybooks impart tangible skills to children as they train Rufus to compete in the All Star Games.
Through a partnership with JDRF Rufus the Bear is provided at no cost to families.
Over 52k bears distributed to date.
Parents tell us that Rufus improves conversations about diabetes in the home, reduces stress associated with diabetes management, and helps alleviate anticipatory anxiety before injections.
• New York Post: Meet the tech whiz building robotic teddy bears to comfort sick kids
• Washington Post: This crowd-funding campaign would give every diabetic child a high-tech teddy bear
If you know a child with type 1 diabetes you can request a Rufus the Bear for no-cost from the link here
Committee for Children (CfC) funded research to explore the connection between fidgeting and self-soothing, leading to the creation of early low-fidelity prototypes. After testing these prototypes in field studies and publishing positive early outcomes, CfC looked to Empath Labs to commercialize their research, resulting in the Purrble Companion.
We worked with local schools and families to iterate the underlying gameplay, and develop an appealing character design.
The Purrble Companion is an interactive stuffed animal designed to help people of all ages find calm. Your companion’s heart races to show emotion. Hold and pet your companion to slow their heartbeat into a gentle purr. You’ll be surprised to find you’ve calmed yourself in the process.
95% of parents report that Purrble helps their child calm down when they need to
Hear real stories from our 1,716 reviews on Amazon about how the Purrble Companion helps people find calm.
• TIME: Best Inventions of 2021
• Wall Street Journal: Pandemic Tantrums? Enter the Robot Playmate for Kids
Order a Purrble Companion for yourself or a loved one by visiting our shop
Learn how we can help you achieve better experiences and better outcomes. Let’s invent together.
We combine our unique empath-driven design methodology with the latest capabilities of robotics, user experience, data capture, and game theory to help organizations craft more effective, empathetic, and human(e) patient experiences.