This robot helps sick children beat loneliness

This is AV1, a mini-robot that’s been deployed at the London Zoo in England.

Over in Wales, 8-year-old Fynle Jones is being treated to a personal tour which includes visiting the meerkats, penguins and gorillas, all without having to leave his home.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE HOWE, NO ISOLATION, SAYING:

“Today we’re working with AV1 which is a telepresence robot designed for children with a long-term illness which allows them to be in a place that they can’t physically be themselves. So we’re really happy to be able to help Fynle to the zoo today through AV1.”

The cute-looking device is essentially an internet-connected robot that can stream audio and video. It has a speaker and a microphone with an internal SIM card and WiFi capability that can be controlled remotely.

AV1’s developer is a Norwegian start-up called No Isolation. Their mission is to create a telepresence robot that allows children with immunodeficiency to connect with their friends and family.

Fynle was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year and underwent surgery which has left his paralyzed and unable to speak.

Now, cancer-free and in remission, he has to shield at home and let AV1 be his eyes and ears, and his voice.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PHIL JONES, FYNLE’S FATHER, SAYING:

“Absolutely life-changing for Fynle. It’s been brilliant. He’s been able to join in all school lessons. The AV1 has actually been taken on a school trip to the cinema to watch the new Star Wars movie and the guys in the classroom dressed him up in a Star Wars T-shirt and he went to the cinema. Fynle’s been able to join in lessons, he’s been able to go into the playground with his friends whilst he’s been home having chemo. It’s been brilliant. Absolutely superb.”

Telepresence robots are growing rapidly in popularity, largely due to the big demand from the healthcare industry.

According to Verified Market Research, the overall telepresence robot market is expected to reach $789 million by 2027.

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