A robot that can talk, dance, sing and play games will soon be available to children and youth requiring help from Red Deer RCMP victim services — but it still needs a name.
A contest is underway for children and youth age five to 14 to submit suggestions for a chance to win prizes, including being name police chief for the day.
“There is no other police or victim services unit that has the MEDi robot in Canada, as far as we’re aware,” said Const. Holly Erb.
The MEDi robot, which is about two feet tall, will help children through police and court proceedings.
“He’ll be programmed to talk to them about coping mechanisms, how to do some stress-relieving techniques. He will do presentations about court preparation for those kids that have to go to court. We’ll also use him in some public presentations,” Erb said.
She said the robot puts children at ease, much like therapy dogs.
“Part of our hypothesis, as police officers, is that robots have not hurt them, where people may have, whether that’s emotionally through judgment, or physical type of harm.”
Const. Derek Turner said the robot’s job is to make children feel more comfortable working with police.
“This can be an overwhelming experience, but the robot provides support and walks children through every step, helping to make the process a little less stressful,” Turner said.
Procedures and policies are still being developed for the robot and his name will be revealed Jan. 24.
Names can be submitted until Jan. 14, and at www.reddeer.ca/robot, there is more information and a video of the robot. Voting on the top three submissions will take place Jan. 17 to 20.