Meet the robot duck that could help children with cancer

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A robotic My Special Aflac Duck, for children facing cancers, is demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US Jan. 7, 2018. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)
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The My Special Aflac Duck for children facing cancer is seen on display during the CES Unveiled preview event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center during CES 2018 in Las Vegas on Jan. 7, 2018. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)
Updated 08 January 2018

Meet the robot duck that could help children with cancer

LAS VEGAS: A plush, robotic duck may soon become a fixture in the world of children with cancer. The social robot can be silly, happy, angry, scared or sick just like them, and help them cope with their illness through the power of play.
Aaron Horowitz was diagnosed with a debilitating condition as a child. He and his Rhode Island-based company Sproutel developed the emotional support robot to help children manage stress and change the way they deal with their health.
The American Cancer Society says almost 11,000 US children are diagnosed with cancer yearly.
The duck is modeled after the mascot for insurance company Aflac, which paid for its development. Beginning later this year, the ducks will be distributed free to kid patients.
The duck’s expected to be featured Monday at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.


SpaceX launch moving ahead, weather uncertain

Updated 30 May 2020

SpaceX launch moving ahead, weather uncertain

  • NASA chief Jim Bridenstine: ‘We are moving forward with launch today’

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: SpaceX’s historic first crewed mission to the International Space Station was set to proceed as scheduled on Saturday, NASA said, although uncertainty remained over weather conditions.
“We are moving forward with launch today,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet. “Weather challenges remain with a 50 percent chance of cancelation.”
“Proceeding with countdown today,” said SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Weather forced the postponement on Wednesday of what would have been the first launch of American astronauts from US soil in almost a decade, and the first crewed launch ever by a commercial company.
The Falcon 9 rocket with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch at 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time (1922 GMT) on Saturday.
The next window, which is determined by the relative positions of the launch site to the space station, is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (1900 GMT), and fair weather is predicted.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined the space agency in 2000, are to blast off for the ISS from historic Launch Pad 39A on a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates on their historic 1969 journey to the Moon, as NASA seeks to revive excitement around human space exploration ahead of a planned return to Earth’s satellite and then Mars.
The mission comes despite shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the crew in quarantine for more than two weeks.
NASA has urged crowds to stay away from Cocoa Beach, the traditional viewing spot — but that did not deter many space fans on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who flew in for the previous launch attempt, is expected to attend again.