D-backs to debut "Hope" the Robot today

Interactive robot to help create “virtual” hospital visit for patients and D-backs players

April 28th, 2021

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation (@DbacksGiveBack) will debut a new interactive robot for pediatric hospital patient virtual visits to Chase Field beginning today. “Hope” is designed to allow young patients who would normally interact with D-backs players and staff at hospitals and on the field, to continue these important visits in an engaging virtual format.

“Our players have always enjoyed visiting young patients in the hospital and spending time putting smiles on their faces,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “We have all missed this interaction during the pandemic and this unique approach will help brighten the day of those in uniform and those who are recovering.”

This season, patients from Phoenix Children’s and Banner Children’s will have the opportunity to view batting practice and visit with players while virtually touring Chase Field. The experience is designed to allow children at the hospital to guide, operate and control the robot while they speak through a screen at the hospital.

The idea came from planning with Phoenix Children’s Child Life specialists who have been using the robot at the hospital for interactive visits. The high-resolution video and audio provides an experience similar to what many have experienced via Zoom/Microsoft Teams during the pandemic. Phoenix Children’s Child Life Specialists help patients prepare for procedures in developing coping strategies and integrating play —all while helping to reduce children's anxieties and support healing during hospitalization and illness.