[Feb 2, 2022: Benny Kirk]
Meet CHAMP, the robot who just gave kids undergoing cancer treatments at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles something to smile about. (CREDIT: Jason Nuttle)
You may find the concept of a robot companion bringing joy and smiles to sick children to sound horrifying. If that's the case, we can only assume you never saw Wall-E on the big screen during its opening weekend, as some younger folks have. Because to those kinds of people, robot pals are awesome.
You can thank Volkswagen for bringing such a creation to life. Meet CHAMP, the robot who just gave kids undergoing cancer treatments at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles something to smile about.
Many of the children at CHLA are fans of a good game of soccer, so VW and CHAMP partnered with the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams to give all the kids in the hospital a memory they'll never forget, that is seeing a real-life robot in the flesh.
VW's CHAMP sports an array of sensors, cameras, and semi-autonomous operation technology that's currently possible to build. All combined with an interactive display and easy to use central screen.
The robot's been an official sponsor of both the Men's and Woman's National Teams over the last few months. Now, it's taking a break from touring to put smiles on the faces of people who desperately need them.
U.S. Women’s National Team’s Olympics Send-Off Series showcasing CHAMP to virtual palyer honorees. (CREDIT: U.S. Soccer)
“When I told the children they had been selected to be virtual player honorees through the CHAMP program, they were ecstatic — they were pinching themselves, recognizing this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” the mother of a child in the hospital's cancer ward shared.
“He has no doubt felt different than other children, but Anthony is a survivor and he showed me strength that I continue to marvel at.” We may marvel at the technological achievement of such a creation as CHAMP may bring. But the people who live and work at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles marvel at how its whimsical sci-fi charms help bring a sense of fun and excitement to a place where challenges and suffering are so often a part of daily life.
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Note: Materials provided above by Benny Kirk. Content may be edited for style and length.
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