A Vodafone Service 

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Long-term illness should not deprive a child from a school-based education.

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Did you know that in the UK, more then 72,000 children missed out on school because of long-term illness?  While some of you, maybe looking back on your own childhood and school experience, might have considered this a welcoming distraction, the combination of school isolation and school absence can have consequences that can affect the development of the child’s education and social skills in the future.  As part of its Future Ready Event held recently, Vodafone was promoting the AVI solution to enable children with long term illness to take part in this important development of their formative years.

With the appearance of an early robotic model with a head mounted of a jelly shaped body,, the AV1 has been designed to act as an avatar for a child too ill to have a physical presence in the classroom. At the same time the child will be safely ensconced in their home or hospital environment,  The robot’s head features a screen on one side and a speaker outlet on the other.  A motor in the neck of the AV1 gives it the ability to move up, down and sideways for greater viewing functionality.  The AV1 will represent the child as it acts as the child’s eyes, ears and voice in the classroom.  The AV1 will forward the educational experience to the child suffering with a long-term illness through  the AV1’s audio-visual functionality and its built-in 4G capability.

Depending upon their current health condition, the child can decide when to connect and disconnect from the AV1 experience using the appropriate IOS or Android app to bring about the means to communicate with the classroom based AV1 device by the pressing of a button.  Using this tactile means of communication, the child can opt for the role of a  passive listener which causes a blue light to flash on the robot’s head.  If the child needs to ask a question then this facility is available with another button available in the app. 

When the need to ask a question is required, then a white light will flash.  There is also a whisper mode so that only those seated near the AV1 will hear the child’s comments delivered through the AV1’s built in speaker system.  Other features available to the child include the ability to express emotions through the eyes of the robot and turn its head through 360 degrees for other views of the classroom environment.

While most of the school based educational experience will be conducted from the classroom, other locations will be called upon from time to time .  These locations can be either indoors or outdoors.  The AV1 unit, weighing approximately 1.5 kilograms, is easily moveable and it can be located in different locations.  As it is battery powered, there is no need for access to a mains power source apart from when the battery needs recharging.  This process can be carried out overnight to give eight hours for use during the day.

Offering a 4G service with encrypted AV1 to ensure privacy and free data traffic, the AV1 solution is available on a monthly subscription basis.  Currently this service is priced at £167 per month.  According to the information I have received, this AV1 system is being used by more than 450 children and adolescents across ten countries but I have been unable to test this product..

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