An out-of-the-ordinary request made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation saw a teenage cancer survivor receives a visit to a medieval castle to train a dragon.
Belle Cress was able to take the dragon home with her, because it was built and designed specifically to respond to her touch, face, and voice.
Make-a-Wish Denver teamed up with Arrow Electronics to produce the robotic dragon, which Belle named “Dusk,” after the 14-year-old battled back from a rare form of bone cancer known as osteosarcoma, for which she required several surgeries and 10 months of intensive chemotherapy.
“Excited … like a feeling that I can’t really explain in my torso … kind of nervous.. Excited,” Belle said to CBS, recounting the magical meeting. Ive loved dragons ever since I could remember, she said.
The initial meeting took place in virtual reality courtesy of a movie created by emergeStudios, which hauled Belle into a fantastical place far, far away from where she first laid eyes on her dragon. After removing the VR headset, Dusk was there by her side in the Cherokee Ranch castle in Colorado—a contemporary construction of 15th-century castle construction methods.
Consisting of individually printed 3D scales, 26 motors, and lots of computer boards, it’s a marvel of technology and robotics. Dusk has the ability to see and comprehend Belle’s face, respond in different ways to touch, and freely express itself with dragon-like movements such as stretching its marvelous wings.
Why werebuilding a robotic dragon for only one child, is because its for just 1 kid, says Victoria Pea, the project manager at Arrow. “We want her to be happy, and when a robotic dragon is going to make her happy I state ‘why not build it? ‘”
Make-a-Wish has been steaming ahead during COVID-19, not allowing the pandemic-sized radar blip divert them from finishing 8,800 wishes from kids across the States.
(MEET Belle and her dragon in the video below.)
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