Stranger than Fiction: Sick Student Using Robot to Attend School
posted by: Alix | February 11, 2011, 03:25 PM   

We often mention advances in technology on the AAE blog. Stories ranging from students organizing online study groups to learning Chinese through remote video conferencing in Shanghai have all been making national headlines. This week a sick boy in Texas is all over the blogosphere for a new technology that lets him attend class without ever leaving his home.

Lyndon Baty is a middle school student that suffers from Polycystic Kidney Disease—an illness that prohibits him from any normal interactions due to an impaired immune system. Lyndon was unable to attend classes at all until his school was presented with new robotic technology called VGO.

Using VGO, Lyndon is able to attend classes using cameras mounted on a robot that goes from classroom to classroom. Using an at-home camera, Lyndon is able to control his robot and not only attend class but participate in group projects and for the first time ever experience social interactions with his peers.

"It's absolutely amazing. I would have never thought when I was sick that I would ever have any interaction, much less this kind. It is just like I am there in the classroom," stated Lyndon.

The VGO unit Lyndon uses has a price tag of just over $5,000 and a battery life of 8 hours explained Mike Campbell, Texas' Knox City Independent School District's education specialist for technology. Campbell elaborated, "This is one of those occasions where we see a dramatic improvement of a student who wasn't able to go to school. But now as a result of the technology, Lyndon has been able to attend class. That's something that most of us take for granted.”

It’s amazing to see a child that was once completely isolated have the chance to interact with his peers and experience a normal classroom. While this particular technology might not apply to all schools, it sheds a light on the future of interconnected students and teachers. Using similar software and robotic technology, students and teachers will be able to seamlessly interact on everything from lectures to group projects.


Or click here to view the amazing video of the VGO in action.

Do you think VGO and similar technologies will take off?
Comment below.


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