Sydney startup secures grant to develop adorable robot helping sick kids at home


The ikki robots. Source: Supplied.

Sydney medtech startup Ikkiworks has secured a $25,000 Minimum Viable Product grant from the New South Wales government, to develop and refine its robot companion for seriously ill children.

The ikki robot monitors vital signs and medication for kids while they’re at home, rather than in the hospital. It can alert families when medication is due, if the child’s temperature rises too much, or if anything else is amiss.

At the same time, it allows the child’s clinical team to monitor the data online.

Founded by Clive McFarland, Seaton Mckeon and Colin Stahel, ikki is also intended to act as a soothing presence for a child.

“Parents can record songs and stories and ikki plays them back on cue. If a child talks to ikki it will talk back in its own ikki language,” McFarland said in a statement.


Patient Chelsea Hogan helping trial the ikki prototype. Source: Supplied.

“Also, if a child is feeling anxious ikki can help soothe them. ikki’s head lights up and the child can blow it out like a candle which helps with breath calming,” he added.

“But most importantly, ikki empowers the child by giving them a key role in their own treatment.”

The $25,000 grant be used to develop the technology, and to make it more robust for use with kids. However, Ikkiworks is also gearing up to a larger trial of the robot, adapting it to help adults with chronic illnesses, people in rehabilitation, or elderly patients.

Jobs for NSW chief executive Nicole Cook called Ikkiworks “a fantastic example of the great health technology that is being developed here in NSW and how our range of support products, including grants, assists startups and fast-growing SMEs to succeed.”

The news adds to continuing government support for medical startups, on both a federal and state level.

Last year, LaunchVic allocated $2 million in funding to help support the medtech sector.

In April 2018, medtech startup Global Kinetics received $7.75 million to further develop its solution for improving management and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and just last month, remote healthcare startup Coviu secured a $1.2 million Cooperative Research Centre Project grant to commercialise its physiotherapy tech.

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