This 'Baby Bot' Is Heading to the Smithsonian

A robot designed to help babies crawl will be featured at the museum's Innovation Festival.

The saying goes one must be able to crawl before they can walk. Except that for certain children with muscle and developmental issues — like cerebral palsy — simply crawling can be a great task.

A team in Oklahoma, led by Dr. Thubi Kolobe, created the Self-Initiated Prone Powered Crawler, a device meant for babies who struggle with movement, to help them develop.

A child is placed onto the device, it raises them slightly off the ground, and surrounds them with protective cushions. The device allows for babies to explore their environment, which is one of the early ways that children can begin to learn about the surrounding world.

This weekend in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian — specifically the Natural Museum of American History — will look toward the future instead of honoring the past with the Smithsonian Innovation Festival, and Kolobe’s device for babies was one of the innovations selected for public display.

The Innovation Festival brings 13 different innovations from companies, universities, government agencies and just everyday innovators to D.C. and puts them on display for the wider public to experience.

The event is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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