Unhealthy Boy Uses Robotic Avatar to Attend School

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Unhealthy Boy Uses Robotic Avatar to Attend School

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A boy with an extremely weak immune system is using a robotic avatar to substitute for social interaction.

Lyndon Baty, a young man from Knox City, TX, has battled polycystic kidney disease for his entire life, leaving him with almost no immune system, but his schoolmates wouldn't know that. Actually, they would, because Baty has been using a robotic avatar to experience the world as someone in his position would never be able to.

Baty sends a robot called a VGO to school, which wheels around, takes real-time video and audio of its surroundings, and in turn allows Baty to communicate with those in its environment through video chat. Before the VGO, Baty's best friends were his parents, because he was unable to go anywhere but home or the hospital without risking his life.

Now, Baty can interact with his friends in a way he never thought possible. "It's absolutely amazing," he told NBC. "I would have 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."

The Knox City Independent School District happened to get a call from a salesman with VGO Communications that asked if it'd like to take a look at the product. The $5,000 cost (with 8 hour battery life) seems to be negligible for the benefit that it has provided just a single student. Baty's mother says the VGO gives her son a "reason to get up." Getting to interact with people in a more realistic way through the robotic avatar has made it so that Baty anticipates the morning bell.

He's probably the coolest kid in school, too. The VGO reminds us, just in case we forgot, that we're living in the future. Fast-forward 20 years, and I bet schools and workplaces will be filled with more VGOs than humans.

Source: NBC, via Geekologie

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Once again. Hurray for science and technology!

Jesus...

It always amazes me what technology can do. But considering modern craftsmanship it'll probably need a 3 year warrenty and a battery life of 6 hours.

so will bullies but there coats over the camcorder?

hudsonzero:
so will bullies but there coats over the camcorder?

They'de be recorded doing so, and everyone's gonna notice a video screen being covered up. So I highly doubt it. Would love to see the punishment they would get for doing so though.

That is awesome. And useful!
And I kind of want one (although I would never leave the house again...)

One important question - how is it with stairs?

The kind of story that both reminds us what science and technology can do and does so in a way that can only be seen as happy.

I'm not going to say anything about his name...

In all seriousness, this really made me smile; it's great, heartwarming stuff to hear. Good on the kid!
Poor guy to have such a bad condition, though. I'm glad technology nowadays is helping him experience childhood as it should be.

Well, so some extent, anyway. We need more happy news!

Rationalization:
They'de be recorded doing so, and everyone's gonna notice a video screen being covered up. So I highly doubt it. Would love to see the punishment they would get for doing so though.

"So, what's your excuse, Williams?"
"Uh... the robot had a coat over it to begin with?"
"Very funny, enjoy Juvenal Detention.

J03bot:
That is awesome. And useful!
And I kind of want one (although I would never leave the house again...)

One important question - how is it with stairs?

I would assume an elevator would be in use, thats what they normally do with people unable to use stairs.

This is pretty damn cool, hauntingly reminiscent of that one episode of Big Bang Theory though.

Sheldon Cooper would be proud :-)

Rationalization:

hudsonzero:
so will bullies but there coats over the camcorder?

They'de be recorded doing so, and everyone's gonna notice a video screen being covered up. So I highly doubt it. Would love to see the punishment they would get for doing so though.

Nobody has fully tested the VGO's laser defence systems ;)

BlueberryMUNCH:
I'm not going to say anything about his name...

... Lyndon Baty?

¬.¬ I dont get it....

That's cool :D
Still, think of the poor bastard. That's the best he's going to get, quite possibly for the rest of his life, however short that may be.

This... Is great.

Not G. Ivingname:

Nobody has fully tested the VGO's laser defence systems ;)

I can test them! :D

Mackheath:
Jesus...

It always amazes me what technology can do. But considering modern craftsmanship it'll probably need a 3 year warrenty and a battery life of 6 hours.

its got 8 hours.....This kid will practally be a hero when he gets to school after being "OK"

That is amazing, science is awesome.

When I first saw this I instantly though it was from Japan.

when they say that there are going to be more VGOs in the future than humans all I could think about was Surrogates.

I, for one, welcome our robot overlords.

Kind of reminds me of the movie hinokio.. and that one ep of big bang

I wonder what he's going to do about jobs.

Would had been more impressive if he could had gotten cured from his current state. I mean, a bot works as a learning interaction substitute, but what happens when he wants to get a girlfriend, get a family or simply get into touch with friends without a screen involved?

It's not much of a life he has, the way I see it.

Sounds like a way better idea then a plastic bubble.

DAMN IT!
I wanted to use this technology while I was in school.

Damn kids and their robotic avatars... always on the grass *mumble mumble*

Tom Goldman:
Fast-forward 20 years, and I bet schools and workplaces will be filled with more VGOs than humans.^

That would be kinda sad actually. Taking into account that every VGO represents a very sick person.

Or as bruce willis said it on surrogates:
"Honey, I don't know what you are. I mean, for all I know, you could be some big, fat dude sitting in his stim chair with his dick hanging out."

...but what happens when the robot doesn't want to take his orders anymore?
*gasp*

0p3rati0n:
Once again. Hurray for science and technology!

Indeed. Let such technology advancement truly serve Humanity rather than baffle it into submission.

Glad to hear some happy news on the Internet once and awhile.

Science is the best!

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Nuff said.

I think he scored a critical success right there.

iLikeHippos:
[. . .] what happens when he wants to get a girlfriend, get a family or simply get into touch with friends without a screen involved?

I wouldn't be surprised if there's things like that in the pipeline. Though medical advances have to be rigorously tested for years before they can be used on anyone, to be sure they're safe. And even then studies on volunteers need to be done for a good while to make sure there are no hidden pitfalls.

It means medicine is a bit behind other technological advances, but it is far better that way given what untested drugs and treatments could do to people.

Another point for Science. Whats the score now?

This was a Japanese movie about 7 years ago and much more interesting with a much better robot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinokio

Vault boy Eddie:
Sheldon Cooper would be proud :-)

DAMN! Ninja'd!

hudsonzero:
so will bullies but there coats over the camcorder?

Jeez, what kind of person would bully him?!

Oh yeah, I recall seeing something like this on an old episode of "Beyond tomorrow" a few years ago, it's funny that in the past year or two I've seen so many things from that show that were only in the concept stage now become a regular part of our lives.

Still, how do P.E classes work out for him?

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