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Robots create Super Bowl memories for kids at Phoenix Children's

Ohmnilabs has created a robot on wheels with a screen on top that streams live for the kids at Phoenix Children's to watch.

PHOENIX — Surrounded by machines, wires and walls, 13-year-old Erin Dale has been in her hospital room at Phoenix Children's for 35 days straight. 

Dale is battling cancer for a fourth time and can't leave her room since she is highly immuno-compromised. However, a special piece of technology has changed that.

"It's very isolating," her mother, Susan Lundgren, said. "For a 13-year-old to be plucked out of school and friends, it's challenging. She had a solid tumor; then we had some complications with treatment and developed leukemia; she's had a bone marrow transplant and recently relapsed."

"It's boring," Dale said. "There's not a thing to do; they won't let me out of my room; I'm not allowed to go to the playroom right now."

Dale is one of a handful of patients at Phoenix Children's asked to participate in some NFL fun. It's possible through a partnership between the hospital and Ohmnilabs. The company has created a robot on wheels with a screen on top that streams live.

"The children control it," Ruth Stehlin said. "They can move them all around; they can move up and down to get a 360-degree view of whatever is going on at the events."

Stehlin is a Child Life Specialist at Phoenix Children's, whose role is to help children cope in the hospital. She says technology like this is vital in helping bring some fun during a typically difficult time for the patient and their family.

"Our goal is to help them cope," she said. "And how we can make that as smooth as possible. We want to lessen any traumatic or stressful events while they're here."

With many events ahead of the Super Bowl, Ohmnilabs invited patients from Phoenix Children's, Children's Mercy in Kansas City and Children's of Philadelphia to use their equipment. 

The children have been to Opening Night, the commissioner's football press conference and some lucky children will get to attend the Super Bowl. What makes it even more special is it's more than just a picture; they can talk with their favorite players and stars they run into.

"It was fun to see them interacting during and afterward," Stehlin said. "Just the continued joy was great."

"I got to see a lot of people," Dale said. "I was in a room with a bunch of fancy-dressed people, and then I saw some famous people. I got to see Baby Face, Chris Stapleton and Rihanna."

You could see the excitement on Dale's face after the experience. She said it was fun because she felt like she was really there in the room. 

"It feels like a weight lifted off my heart," said Lundgren. "This is such a heavy time for us, but to just feel the joy, which is hard to come by sometimes. We were dancing to all the songs as we were waiting for [Rihanna] to come out. It was great that she was so excited."

According to Phoenix Children's, there are 15 total robots at the hospital, and more than 20 kids are participating throughout the week. 

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