Lyndon Baty, a student in Knox City, Texas, is using a robotic avatar to continue his education despite being too unhealthy to physically attend classes at his school.
Baty, who has suffered from Polycystic Kidney Disease since birth, recently began using a telepresence robot built by VGO Communications to go to school and continue his education. With the robot, Baty can virtually walk around the hallways, have discussions with fellow students, and interact with his teachers in class – all from the comfort and safety of his home.
The 4-foot tall VGO robot is controlled remotely from Baty’s home computer. The unit costs approximately $5,000 and its battery lasts about 8 hours.
According to his mother, the VGO gives Baty a reason to wake up in the morning. He is quoted as saying, “[Before the VGO], my best friends were my parents. No offense against them, but I want other friends.” The robotic avatar gives him the opportunity to develop relationships with his peers and engage in normal social interactions. Baty told NBC News, “It’s absolutely amazing. 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.”
Check out this video by WBIR news: