Friday, February 4, 2011

Robots help sick kids go to school

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SOURCE: CNET News online 2/1/11

"Children too sick to go to school are still getting an education--thanks to robots in the classroom that transmit lessons back to the student.

(Credit: Vgo Communications) Stepan Supin, 12, of Moscow has been battling leukemia for two years, and his immune system is so weak he can't leave home. However, telepresence technology allows him to go to school via remote-controlled robot.

The R.BOT 100 was developed by Moscow's 3Detection Labs several years ago, and it's been helping Stepan study history, geography, and languages since September.

Priced at roughly $3,000, the R.BOT 100 moves around on a wheeled base and has a display, Web cam, microphone, speakers, and an Internet link so Stepan can interact with his classmates and teacher.

"I can change the robot's speed, to go slower or faster. I can move his head to look left or right. I really feel as if I am in the classroom," Stepan told Australia's Herald Sun.

In Texas, Lyndon Baty also goes to school through a robot surrogate. He suffers from polycystic kidney disease and has a severely impaired immune system, which confines him to home.

Lyndon attends class with the Vgo telepresence robot, which was released last year by Vgo Communications. With two-way video, audio, and a 10-hour battery, Vgo lets Lyndon roam around the halls of Knox City High School and interact with other students (see the video below)..."

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