“Calmer” Robot for Soothing Preterm Babies in Intensive Care Units

ICICS’ Designing for People (DFP) research cluster lead Karon MacLean is a co-inventor of a therapeutic robot known as “Calmer,” which mimics a parent’s heartbeat sounds, breathing motion and the feel of human skin, to reduce pain for premature babies in neonatal intensive care units. In a recent study at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre,  the robot was found to provide the same level of pain relief for infants as a human.  Calmer replaces the standard mattress inside an incubator. The study’s lead author Liisa Holsti, is the Canada Research Chair in Neonatal Health and Development, an associate professor in the department of occupational science and occupational therapy at UBC, and an investigator at BC Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI). Professor Holsti is also a member of DFP.