Robot Aid All Class: Hi-Tech Help for George
Sickness will be no barrier to education for prep student George McNees, who has been gifted a robot that he can "drive" down hallways and across classrooms to participate virtually in school lessons.
Operated digitally through the comfort of his own home, the six-year-old Howrah Primary School student can access his lessons virtually when feeling unwell from the side effects of brain cancer, which he has struggled with for about five years.
George was donated the Ohmni Robot when Aurora Energy provided $10,000 community grant to Missing School, an organisation that supports children with serious illness or injury to stay connected to their school and friends through these robots.
George was diagnosed with cancer at 11 months of age and has had multiple rounds of treatment and three relapses, which have seen him miss large periods of school. With his cancer stably contained to one small area within his brain, the robot will also ensure that if he does go through further treatment or is feeling unwell, he can stay home and have his lessons there.
"Because he has had so much treatment - two sets of radiation, brain surgery, chemotherapy, - his body and brain in general are very tired and fatigued very quickly," mum Sarah McNees said.
"So, often he needs lots of breaks from the classroom, sometimes he can't do full days at school and sometimes he needs a day off."
The robot also allows George to stay connected in the classroom on a "different level" by helping to stay in touch with peers.
"You build up quite a bit of anxiety about even little things like who your child is going to play with or is he going to have any friends,"
Mrs McNees said.
"So it is an enormous relief for me."
After missing kindergarten last year because he was participating in a 16-month clinical trial at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, which helped to stabilise his cancer, George only started prep in May.
The robot is an example of cutting-edge new technology, comprised of electronic tablet on a stem with wheels for ease of driving.
"We were just delighted to give (Missing School) $10,000 to support them in bringing this technology to Tasmania and allowing children like George to stay connected,"
Aurora Energy chief executive Rebecca Kardos said.
A leading provider of robots as a service, Robots4Good is the exclusive supplier of OhmniLabs robots and services in Australia and New Zealand for business, manufacturing, schools, hospitals, disability and aged care settings.