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West Seneca NY Elementary School Features Pupils and a Robot In Class [VIDEO]

When I made my predictions in December 2012, one of them was that we were going to see the use of robots more and more in 2013. It appears that I’ve gotten this one right. What makes this story even more exciting to me is that it’s happening where I went to school in West Seneca New York.

As reported by the Associated Press, Devon Carrow has life-threatening allergies that don’t allow him to go to school. But today’s technology provides him and the school with a 4-foot-tall robot with a wireless video hookup giving him the school experience, remotely. Devon can participate in class, stroll through the hallways, hang out at recess and even go to the auditorium when there’s a show or assembly.

According to Associated Press videojournalist Ted Shaffrey;

The technology broadens Devon’s school experience beyond what would be possible through a video chat. The only restrictions are physical.

The robot senses stairs and stops, but even they aren’t insurmountable because, at 18 pounds, the robot is light enough for a teacher to lift. Before moving forward, Devon scans the camera downward to make sure he won’t run into a classmate who might be crouching to tie a shoe. The VGo warns of large objects ahead.

“Walking down a hallway, seeing other kids,” Brachmann said. “You couldn’t expose somebody on a Skype session that way. It would just be like a TV screen. With this he really gets a feel, a sensation, of being there.”

On a recent weekday, Devon positioned himself in front of his home computer’s camera in a sunroom-turned-classroom in his Orchard Park home and dialed in to Mrs. Voelker’s room for the 9:10 a.m. start of school. He controls the VGo alongside teacher Sheri Voss, who comes to his house daily to help navigate and keep him on task.

When class was called to order, Devon stood at attention in front of his computer camera, holding a salute to his forehead as the class recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

This is becoming common in our classrooms as you’ll find out from this report from WTAE in Pennsylvania.
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