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'Allies' robot saves children from isolation

'Allies' robot saves children from isolation

In touch with school and friends through loan robot of Vodafone Foundation

Children recovering from long-term illness, can now stay connected with their classmates, family and friends through a special robot. They don't have to skip their lessons and they can even play outside, virtually.

More than 1 in every 4 children is suffering from a chronic disease, resulting in long-term illness. Research shows that social isolation negatively impacts childhood development. From now on, children with a long-term illness can stay in touch with their classmates, family and friends by means of a special robot. In this way, they don’t have to miss school and they can even play outside, virtually. As a result, social isolation of these children is staved off. The Vodafone Foundation makes 25 robots available and lends them out to these children.

Puck is one of these sick kids. Due to her metabolic disease, she often has less energy than her peers, which means she cannot always participate. "I am really happy with my robot because now I can simply join in," she says. "I don’t have to miss my friends and I can also forget for a while that I’m in hospital." Puck’s parents are equally pleased with the robot. "It makes me very happy to see that Puck can still have her moments when she’s not at school," Puck’s father explains.

The AV1 robot, developed and manufactured by the Norwegian company No Isolation, enables a sick child to participate in activities in the classroom and outside. The cute little robot transmits image and sound directly to the tablet or smartphone of the sick classmate. From home or from the hospital he or she can operate and instruct the robot. By means of the AV1 robot the child can talk, listen and raise its hand. This enables an interaction that would normally be impossible, at school, but also during playtime at a friend’s home, birthdays and class outings.

The Vodafone Foundation is responsible for the financing and the 4G connection of the robots. The Child and Hospital Foundation takes care of the lending process of the robots to the families. Parents, teachers or children can apply for an AV1 robot on the site of Allies: www.mijn-bondgenoot.nl.