Centennial, Colo. April 5, 2021 /3BL Media/ – Like many teenagers, 14-year-old Belle has long dreamed of having a pet. But when a cancer diagnosis made it impossible for her to have an animal companion, she set her sights on something bigger – a pet dragon. Arrow Electronics and Make-A-Wish Colorado joined forces to bring Belle’s mythical creature to life, delivering a dynamic social robot that promises to provide engagement, encouragement, and friendship to the teenager.
“It’s as close to a dragon as can be, as a robot. I love it, “ said Belle, who received her dragon on March 23 and was honored by the Colorado Rockies in Opening Day ceremonies, which also featured the premiere of a video detailing the journey to bring the dragon to life.
“Belle’s dragon required us to start from scratch and really take the time to ideate with Belle on what this mythical creature should look like, because it wasn’t mythical to her. She had a real vision for her pet and our goal was to make that a reality,” said Victoria Bohannon-Pea, a project manager for Arrow, who led the effort to build the dragon. “Belle’s dragon is a perfect example of how Arrow’s engineering services team collaborates with our partners to merge what’s possible with what’s practical.”
Arrow directed an alliance of suppliers and innovators to fulfill Belle’s wish, including Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), which provided key electronics and reference designs and robot creator Caleb Chung and his team, who designed and assembled the dragon. Emerge Labs created a virtual reality program to introduce Belle to her pet and allow her to experience a three-dimensional adventure from her dragon’s perspective.
“We are delighted to partner with Arrow and Make-a-Wish Colorado to grant Belle’s wish,” said Leo McHugh, Vice President, Channel, Solutions and Digital Platforms at Analog Devices. “It is exciting to see Analog Devices’ technology applied in such an imaginative and inspiring way, bringing Belle’s Dragon to life.
Belle’s dragon is not a toy, but an interactive, animal-like, semi-autonomous companion. It has sensors to detect Belle’s touch and responds with fluid movements resembling those of the characters from her favorite dragon stories. It has colorful wings that glow from within and flap when the dragon is active. Its skin feels reptilian, its expressions change, and it reacts when it perceives a treat. The dragon also tires if overstimulated.
The dragon’s appearance and behaviors are based on ideas Belle suggested during the concept and design phase of the project and draw upon her own artwork and characters from her favorite books and movies.
Belle’s dragon has been in development since Fall 2019. Make-A-Wish Colorado approached Arrow Electronics for help in granting Belle’s wish for a dragon. Arrow treated Belle (and Make-A-Wish) like a customer in need of a technology solution. The dragon was prototyped in 2020. Final assembly and programming were completed in early 2021.
“Make-A-Wish Colorado is incredibly grateful to Arrow Electronics and all our partners who helped us grant Belle’s wish to have her own dragon,” said Make-A-Wish Colorado president and CEO Scott Dishong. “It’s inspiring to witness so many people from different industries coming together to help bring a mythical creature to life, all to grant the wish of a 14-year-old girl named Belle who is battling bone cancer. This experience demonstrates the power a wish has to unite communities, spark joy and transform lives.”
Belle’s dragon addresses the isolation and loneliness that is common among people dealing with serious medical conditions – concerns magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its ability to interact will provide Belle with critical emotional support, demonstrating how technology can enrich lives. The platform used to build the dragon could be modified to take other forms and programmed to perform other tasks – wakeups, reminders, and communications – to widen its applications and audiences.
About Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics (NYSE:ARW) guides innovation forward for over 180,000 leading technology manufacturers and service providers. With 2020 sales of $29 billion, Arrow develops technology solutions that improve business and daily life. Learn more at FiveYearsOut.com.
About Make-A-Wish Colorado:
Make-A-Wish Colorado creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness. Founded as one of the first Make-A-Wish chapters in 1983, Make-A-Wish Colorado has granted more than 5,785 wishes to children across the state of Colorado. For more information about Make-A-Wish, visit wish.org/colorado or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @wishcolorado.
About Analog Devices, Inc.
Analog Devices (Nasdaq: ADI) is a leading global high-performance semiconductor company dedicated to solving the toughest engineering challenges. We enable our customers to interpret the world around us by intelligently bridging the physical and digital with unmatched technologies that sense, measure, power, connect and interpret. Visit http://www.analog.com.
This content was originally published here.