The VGo robot: a hero to homebound students
At MWC 2012, I brought a VGo robot on stage and spoke about its potential. The robot is a brilliant mobile application that is being used by more than 21 students in the United States, who previously, have been unable to attend school because of circumstances beyond their control. Thanks to the VGo robot, the students are now able to be present in the classroom for the very first time.
The telepresence robot, developed by visual communications solutions developer VGo Communications, allows students to navigate the halls and classrooms on their own from home via a laptop, on-screen keyboard, clipboard and mouse pad.
The students scroll the wheel on their mouse to change camera angles, so that they can look in different directions – via the robot. Pupils in the class can come up to the robot and talk about what is happening at school and about classroom assignments and can see the homebound student’s face in real time.
Parents of the students have said that being able to access the classroom via the robot has given their children the ability to experience peer interaction, which has brightened their personalities and renewed some of life’s enthusiasm that had been lost earlier on.
Here is how the technology works: VGo’s unique capability is in its remote-controlled mobility solution combined with two-way video and audio communications. The solution comprises two primary elements: the VGo – the remote-controlled mobile device that represents you in a distant location – and the VGo App – the software application that is downloaded to your computer that you use to initiate connectivity, so you can operate the VGo and see and hear the robot’s surroundings.
The data connection between the VGo and its user runs over the internet with the help of VGoNet, a special cloud based network that manages everything. The network was designed to handle the complexities of a solution requiring real time audio-visual communications and simultaneous robotic remote controls.
Our blog has touched a number of times on the incredible developments taking place in education thanks to mobile broadband. This robot gives these students, who previously couldn’t be seen or heard, a face and voice so they are able to engage with the world and be empowered by information.