We are so excited to announce that the pilot of Starlight’s new hospital service is underway, using robotic technology called AV1!

AV1 robots minimise the impact of being isolated during serious illness, which can have great effect on a child’s mental health. The technology works by placing the robot where the child would usually be, whether that be at home, at school or with friends. The child can then control the robot via a tablet to interact with the environment by listening, talking, moving and showing expressions. We are excited to be venturing into more technological methods of reaching children in hospitals around the UK.

The AV1 robots were initially tested at the end of last year during performances of Starlight’s touring pantomime. The AV1 robots allowed children isolated in hospital to watch and interact with the pantomime performance from their bed. ‘No Isolation’, the creators of AV1 believe that in the UK more than 72,000 children are missing out on their childhood due to long-term illness.

In one case a young girl was unable to leave her room and was very stressed due to ongoing investigations into her symptoms, but she was able to watch the show using the AV1 robot and it provided a huge distraction for her, allowing her time to forget her fears and laugh and be a child!

Following the initial test during the Pantomime tour we observed improvements in children’s mood, engagement and wellbeing after using AV1

The AV1 robot minimises the impact of isolation during serious illness and early research has shown improvements in children’s mood, engagement and wellbeing after using the telepresence robot. We’re excited to see the results of long-term use!