A toy robot duck

Ubercool Innovation



My Special Aflac Duck

In the wall-to-wall innovation cacophony that is CES, one product stood out from the rest of the pack. My Special Aflac Duck, developed by Aflac and robotic toy company Sproutel, is designed to lighten up the spirits of children with cancer.

Five touch sensors allow kids to snuggle with the toy duck, causing it to cuddle back or cheerfully quack in response. It comes with an accessory bag of emoji-like RFID discs that help children express their feelings by tapping the duck’s chest, eliciting either a happy chirp or painful groan.

Sproutel CEO Aaron Horowitz tells The Verge that the innovative toy helps children feel like they’re not alone in the process, with the duck mirroring their emotions, down to a mock IV treatment.

Aflac CEO Dan Amos said the insurance company’s goal is to get the duck into the hands of kids newly diagnosed with cancer for free. That is a noble and creative market approach.

Sproutel Inc. • 60 Valley St. #105 • Providence, RI 02909

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