Classroom robots to aid chronically ill children to attend school
Robots becoming a part of classrooms to aid learning experiences is fast becoming a reality. AV-1, a small white robot designed by a Norwegian start-up called No Isolation, is being used in classrooms to aid children who have to miss classes for long periods due to chronic illnesses. The telepresence robot, fitted with a camera, speaker and microphone, sits in the classroom with the other students and allows a child to participate in the class from their bed with the help of their smartphones or tablets. The robot also helps them stay connected with their school friends.
As researchers have found that children with chronic health conditions prefer not to be on display, video streaming by the robot is restricted to one direction, while audio streaming can happen in both directions. The robot is fitted with two motors that allow it to raise and lower its head as well as swivel 360 degrees. This ensures that the child at home can get a good view of everything happening in the class.
AV-1 also allows the child to speak and ask questions through the robot, thereby facilitating active participation in the classroom activities. When the student wants to ask a question, the robot’s head starts blinking, alerting the teacher of the same. When the child becomes too tired or sick to participate, they can signal the same by turning the robot’s head to blue.
Long hospital stays separate the children from learning at crucial points in their education and also isolate them from their peers, resulting in loneliness. No Isolation was developed to combat the same and allows a chronically ill child to connect with friends even in the playground during break time, with the help of Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity.