More

A robot whose sole purpose is to connect emotionally with cancer patients. It's working, too.

Even the nurses were a little skeptical at first, but when Huggable started doing its job...

A robot whose sole purpose is to connect emotionally with cancer patients. It's working, too.
<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span>

America, meet your robot overlord.

Its name is Huggable.


Huggable is the MIT-created robot with a crazy kid voice that hangs out in pediatric cancer wards.

Huggable operates on an Android app. Yep! That's a phone inside its head. It can signal emotions in its movement. It can tell when you're touching it. Eventually, its hand will be able to sense pressure. If you squeeze its hand, technically Huggable could sense your pain.

NOT SO FAST, MR. HAWKING

"Huggable's purpose is to interact on an emotional level with children."
— Luke Plummer, MIT robotics engineer

Huggable is so emotionally supportive, it will gleefully listen to dad jokes.

AND LOVE IT.

What do eggs do for fun? Kara-YOLK-e! Get it?!

Yes, that just happened.

"Why do these kids with cancer need a teddy bear?!?" — something a very dark part of my inner monologue just said to me.

Well, here's the thing.

Kids with cancer UNDERREPORT how traumatized they are by having cancer.

From Medscape (emphasis mine):

The stress of treatment could cause a range of chronic problems, from phobia and anxiety for minor medical procedures, such as blood taking, to panic attack under difficult conditions. This view is further supported by studies focused on stress in children during the treatment for cancer.

On the contrary, other studies suggest that even though the nursing and medical staff perceive more patient distress, the self-reported anxiety in children with cancer is low.

Around 20% of childhood cancer sufferers are diagnosed with PTSD.

And many more suffer from emotional problems in school, in relationships, and beyond AFTER they beat cancer. AFTER they fight the hardest battle humans fight — the battle of beating a disease that's trying to kill you.

Children's cancer wards are full of amazing kids being strong for their families but really suffering on the inside.

They're suffering in ways their families and supporters can see but can't help.

Maybe when you were young, you'd tell your secrets to your teddy bear, like mine named Fish. This is like that but SO. MUCH. MORE. POWERFUL.

Huggable the robot is a teddy bear that supports kids in ways grown-up humans just haven't been able to.

Angelic pediatric cancer nurses, what do YOU think?

MR. HAWKING, YOU WERE RIGHT!

Wait...

So, are robots the end of the human race?

I don't think so. In the form of bots like Huggable, robots are the beginning of something much more positive. They're the beginning of a whole new era of medical advancements that don't alienate us from each other, but bring us closer by teaching us more about ourselves.

Nurses, family, and support systems are so important to cancer patients. But just like the X-ray helped human doctors treat disease, a robot like Huggable will help those human doctors treat the very serious emotional and psychological damage caused by cancer.


boop!

This lil' robot named Huggable is good for us humans.

More hospitals and medical providers need to know about the emotional suffering these strong kids are going through.

I'm sharing this in the hopes that some families out there can use this info to get better care for their kids.

<3

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less
Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

Keep Reading Show less