Humanoid robot NAO is a new addition to Melbourne’s Royal Children's Hospital (RCH). It was developed by Swinburne University’s Digital Frontiers Lab team along with RCH and funded by the Transport Accident Commission. The highly-advanced little NAO will help children suffering from major injuries and illnesses recover and lead a normal life again. The robot will help in the kids’ rehabilitation process.

According to, NAO is a 53 centimetre tall humanoid robot that has a friendly face, the shape of which is like a football. The robot will be used to inspire children and teenagers to complete their regular exercises that are usually boring and at times difficult to perform. NAO will perform the exercises and also enlighten the children on the appropriate techniques of doing them while recording every activity by the kids. It will also take the children through lots of games, all to build balance and strength.

The project is part of Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service’s world-first trial. Over the coming year, therapists at the RCH will keep testing NAO on various aspects and compare it to standard physiotherapy techniques, reports Herald Sun.

“NAO helps us motivate children and increase the number of repetitions of their exercises on a daily basis which leads to a faster recovery and less time in hospital,” said Adam Scheinberg, State-wide Medical Director of Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service and RCH Head of Rehabilitation.

Scheinberg also pointed out the fact that the children who will be treated by NAO often require extremely long periods of intensive rehabilitation though the most important challenge would be to maintain every child’s engagement.

According to physiotherapist Jo Butchart, NAO has already started contributing to children’s development by keeping them engaged and was successful in making them complete extra sessions that is crucial for regaining strength and relearning motor skills.

Ms. Simone Holaj, mother to nine-year-old Miles Thompson, welcomed the addition stating that any strategy to keep her son working would be great.

“Physically he’s got a long way to go, but he just doesn’t give up. It’s always really difficult to keep them engaged … Any strategy to keep them wanting to work is great,” she said.

Thompson survived a car crash in 2013 along with his mother. However, Thompson suffered a severe brain damage with a deep bleed inside his right brain. His left side was considerably weakened. He had to relearn basic functions of walking, talking, swallowing and even going to the toilet.

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