Invest in ME Research newsletter, November 2017: Removing isolation from young people with ME
IiMER invites families that:
- have a child who has been forced to stay at home due to ME,
- and who would like to participate in a trial of a robot at their school
- and work with IiMER and No Isolation to describe the results, then please contact them.
There will be three robots to trial.
About the project:
The Norwegian start up – No isolation – has developed a robot that helps children and young people with long-term illness participate in the classroom on their own terms.
Initially, a trial of three AV1 robots will be set up involving families who currently have a child with ME who is unable to attend school, or whose regular attendance is compromised by ME.
Children and young people with long-term illness such as ME do not need to be excluded from their friends’ activities and progress and schools have a responsibility not to ignore them – something which can lead to long term discrimination.
The robot, called AV1, acts as the students’ eyes, ears and voice in the classroom on days where they cannot be physically present.
The student controls the robot with an app on a tablet. When the student raises their hand, a light flashes on AV1’s head.
The robot can be turned 360 degrees, so the student can see the entire classroom and talk to other students.
If the student does not feel like actively participating, they communicate it by turning on a blue light on AV1’s head.
Research fellow Jorun Børsting and senior lecturer Alma Leora Culén at the Institute for Informatics, University of Oslo, are researching the technology needs of ME-patients. Having studied the use of AV1 among nine children and youths suffering from ME they see a big advantage in the fact that the robot is designed with ME-patients in mind. Børsting stresses that the robot cannot fully replace normal attendance at school or home teaching, but act as a supplement.