My Buddy Doll is a doll that helps children with autism and other special needs learn to interact with other people. It has sensors in its body that measure how much the child is squeezing or hugging it, and these sensors then control the doll’s movements: if the child squeezes too hard, the doll will make a noise to tell them to stop; if they squeeze gently, it will tell them they’re doing a good job. The doll also has an app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone or tablet, which allows parents and caregivers to monitor their child’s handling of My Buddy Doll from anywhere in the world.
The company was founded by a mother whose son had been diagnosed with autism, because she was concerned about how difficult it was for him to communicate with others and interact socially. She saw My Buddy Doll as a way for him to learn skills like empathy and kindness through play—and ultimately become more confident in himself.