Video conferencing lets sick kids stay in school

Thursday, February 3 2011

Video conferencing is already popular in the business world, and it's gaining followers in the academic world, too.

Popular Science reports that video conferencing technology is helping make sure that all teens have access to education, regardless of their health. The magazine shares the story of Lyndon Baty, a Knox City, Texas, high school freshman who suffers from polycystic kidney disease and had a kidney transplant at age 7. Baty was forced to leave school physically when his body began to show signs of transplant rejection, but thanks to a telepresence robot, he hasn't had to leave the classroom emotionally.

"I never thought when I was sick that I would ever have any interaction, much less this kind. It is just like I am there in the classroom," Bates told a local TV station.

The bot is especially well-suited to the academic environment, which necessitates that students move from classroom and classroom throughout the day.

Telepresence bots are getting more and more sophisticated, allowing people to communicate in realistic ways across vast distances. Anybots recently released QB, its own telepresence bot, which currently retails for $15,000 and offers real-time video interaction.