A ten-year-old boy who suffers from a rare condition which limits his time in school hopes to send a robot to lessons in his place.
Keir Wallace is one of only two people in the UK and just 27 people in the world who have been diagnosed with the incurable auto-immune disease FCAS2.
It causes severe pain in his joints and can unexpectedly leave him in agony and unable to walk.
Last year, he wasn’t able to attend a quarter of his classes at St John’s RC School in Portobello, Edinburgh, due to health concerns.
But the youngster hopes a new robot, called the AV1, will help prevent him from missing out on his education.
The robot allows its user to see the whole classroom by using a 360-degree camera on its head and take part in lessons from home with the help of a loudspeaker.
By pressing buttons on a tablet, Keir can even “put his hand up” to answer questions in lessons as flashing lights on the white robot indicate a willingness to take part.
And if he is in too much pain to take part then he can simply sit back and observe by using a blue light.
Keir has even put his school tie on the machine so it will fit in with fellow pupils.
His family are currently using the robot on a trial basis but are hopeful that Edinburgh City Council will help fund one permanently for him.
Dad and full-time carer John Wallace, 62, said that the robot also helps Keir stop feeling so isolated by helping him spend more time with his friends.
He said: “The robot allows Keir to keep in touch with his friends outside of school as well as attend classes.
“It means that he’s able to see and speak to everyone that he normally wouldn’t be able to when off from school.
“And because the robot doesn’t have a screen for him to Skype into lessons, his classmates won’t see him when he’s in severe pain.
“With the robot, he would be able to attend and actively take part in more lessons than he currently does which is so important for attaining better grades.
“I think this is the world’s first ideal solution ever invented that deals with Keir’s exact holistic needs and allows him to take part in school.
“Anyone who has seen it immediately likes it. We’ve had support from the First Minister, our local MP and the leader of the Scottish LibDems who all seemed to love it.
“I would like the council to help fund the robot which will allow Keir to be a more active student and stop him from missing so much school.”
The robot was first developed by Norwegian company No Isolation to help children who spent a lot of time in hospital to continue to take part in lessons.
It is specifically designed for those with long-term illnesses and is controlled via an app from the child’s home or bed.
Each robot costs £2,200 and a £90 fee is charged for the 4G data link which connects it with the terminal at home.
Edinburgh City Council has said it is considering Keir’s request for the robot.
Leave a Reply