Ned the robot, the mascot of Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, has come to life.
Since 2012, Ned has been an illustration on brochures, signs and posters — a friendly face to help children and their parents through the complicated and sometimes scary world of health care.
On Wednesday, a real-life Ned rolled into the children’s hospital. Standing nearly five feet tall and weighing 70 pounds, Ned is a remote control-driven computer.
The device can access the internet, stream video and play games. If a child is scheduled for surgery, hospital officials can program Ned to provide information about the procedure on his computer screen, or allow the child to video chat with parents.
Ned was designed and built by Drs. Andre Muelenaer and Al Wicks of the Pediatric Medical Device Institute and Virginia Tech engineering students Sam Abbott-McCune, Philip Jones and Matt Kvalo.
The robot is expected to be a fixture at the children’s hospital, a full-service, 92-bed facility that is located within Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.