A Robot for Managing Pain in Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Liisa Holsti
DFP Classroom: FSC 2300

Each year worldwide, over 15 million infants are born preterm. These infants need specialized medical procedures to save their lives, many of which may be painful; however, early pain is associated with brain injury and with negative effects on growth and development. Traditional medications for reducing pain are not effective particularly for routine medical tests. Instead, behavioral treatments, such as parents holding their infants skin-to-skin, are recommended. Yet, for a variety of reasons, many parents are not able to hold their infants for the many months needed to treat each painful event while their infants are in the NICU. To address this problem, Dr. Holsti, Dr. Karon MacLean (UBC CS) and Mr. Henry Voss (UBC Engineering Graduate), invented a robotic system called Calmer, that delivers simultaneously fundamental components of skin-to-skin holding (touch, motion and sound) that activate parallel physiological pathways to reduce pain. This talk will focus on the development and early clinical testing of the first prototypes of Calmer.

Event directions

Once you are inside the Forestry Science building walk to the rear (south-east) of the building by passing through the large open study area and up the stairs to the 2nd level student (“treetop”) lounge area. Turn left, pass through the double doors, and room 2300 will be immediately to your right.

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