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Atmosphere is electric as robotic baby arrives

A Torrance hospital held a baby shower this week for an unlikely addition: A 7-pound robotic baby named Simantha.

The $35,000 baby “born” May 30 will serve as an educational tool for students and staff members in the clinical skills lab at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Simantha joins three robotic adults: Stan D. Ardman (a play on the phrase “standard man”), Brittnay and Jake, who is called Jessica when staff members use her as a female.

John Edwards, the clinical skills simulation technician who runs the lab and maintains the robots, was beaming like a proud father at the baby shower, he said. About 50 staff members attended the shower Thursday, bearing gifts and gift cards, which were donated to Casa de los Angelitos, a local crisis center for pregnant women.

Edwards, who creates fake wounds on the robots, will make Simantha more realistic for staff members and students.

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“Babies are slimy and dirty,” he said. “I make them all goopy.”

Ann O’Brien, a hospital spokeswoman, said the 21-inch baby is lifelike. It hiccups, cries and even turns blue when it is in respiratory distress.

“It feels like a real infant,” she said.

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nicole.santacruz@latimes.com


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