When patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital want to have a playdate, a family visit, or an outside stroll, they call Ohmni. Ohmni is a robot with a video camera that can be controlled from a distance. Hospitalized kids can use the camera to see their friends and chat with them as if they were there in person, while still avoiding the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria or viruses.
“It’s about robots helping people to do tasks, such as connecting people across distances,” says Thuc Vu. He’s the co-founder of OhmniLabs, which makes Ohmni.
Ohmni has connected kids with their families, friends, and even celebrities. Some patients have “attended” events, such as a soccer match where children with disabilities took the field as honorary players.