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Education Robotics Hardware

Texas Student Attends School As a Robot 218

kkleiner writes "Freshman Lyndon Baty's immune system is so fragile he can't risk being surrounded by people his own age, yet he attends classes at his high school in Knox City, Texas every day. All thanks to a robot. The Vgo telepresence platform is a four foot tall bot on wheels with a small screen, camera, speakers and microphone at the top. Baty logs into the robot remotely from his home, using his PC and a webcam to teleconference into his classes. Baty can drive Vgo around his school, switching between classes just like regular students. For a boy that has spent much of his life sick and isolated from his peers, Vgo not only represents a chance at a better education, it's also an opportunity for freedom and comradery."
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Texas Student Attends School As a Robot

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  • Déjà Vu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @05:50PM (#35084412) Homepage Journal

    The first step toward surrogates []?

  • Hostile Environment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThinkWeak ( 958195 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @05:59PM (#35084556)
    I think this is a great thing and it's nice to see something like this being given a chance. However, I wonder how long this thing is going to be functional inside of a school. With kids in the halls traveling between classes, weather, random bullying, how long will it take before this thing is broken? I can't imagine it will survive being knocked over more than a couple times.
  • Perfectly natural (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OhHellWithIt ( 756826 ) * on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:05PM (#35084648) Journal
    At first, I thought the whole idea was just too weird. But then I thought about how kids interact with each other in Facebook chat rooms, and I'd say that it probably feels pretty natural both to Lyndon Baty and his classmates.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:34PM (#35084966)

    When I was in the 3rd grade there was a boy who had had polio and teleconference into class. This was in 1958, the phone company even back then had some teleconferencing tech. (It was an independent phone company btw not bell). So the difference is Video. And recall that in the mid 1960s ma bell was all hot over videophones (they were at disneyland and the worlds fair among other places). So at that time it was just a question of cost the tech existed. Now again here it may be that the costs have decreased enough that its economically justifiable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @07:43PM (#35085600)

    You're right. One of the most amazing and positive experiences I've had on the web, well, really before the web -- on usenet -- was meeting a person in one of the discussion newsgroups and chatting with them extensively about a variety of subjects. He was there in the melee of some pretty heated debates for years. He was articulate, intelligent, and voluminous. Later on, after I knew them pretty well, they explained why there were occasions when he disappeared for a few weeks when in the midst of a conversation: he was in a hospital bed, paralyzed and essentially bedridden for most of his life. He confided in me because of a conversation we had been having that was abruptly dropped, and he wanted to explain why it had happened. He trusted me, but said that he didn't want anyone else in the group to know about it generally, because for the first time in his life he could carry on regular conversations with people around the world without having to explain his situation all the time, and without people judging him or making assumptions because of it. He liked it that way (that most people didn't know), even if his illness did occasionally interfere despite his wishes. Most amazing to me was the fact that he typed everything using a mouthstick keyboard! The guy was a *voluminous* writer, which made it that much more impressive. I kept his secret.

    It was also one of the saddest experiences I've had on the network when he died a few years later, barely into his 30s. His family was kind enough to post an explanation on the newsgroup of what had happened. They explained how much of a struggle life usually was for him during his lifetime, but that the discussions on the network had been an extremely positive experience for him.

    As you have said, the availability of some of these tools has literally transformed people's lives by opening the world up to them in ways they couldn't previously experience.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.