Imagine you had an illness that prevented you from going to school for several months. Or, what if you had to miss work for weeks due to a sudden injury? Think of the amount of important information that you would miss out on being out of the office or classroom for weeks or months at a time. Moreover, what if you were thousands of miles away from an important business meeting? Or you had a loved one in the hospital that you really wanted to be there for? Now, imagine that you could go to that meeting or visit your loved one in the hospital via technology. These are all things that you could do if you had the VGo robot.
VGo is a form of robotic telepresence that enables a person to put themselves in a distant location and have the freedom to move around as if they were physically there. The person can see, hear, talk, interact and move. It differs from video teleconferencing in that it is completely remote controlled so you aren’t dependent on the people in the distant location.
Promoted as a perfect solution for schools, hospitals and businesses, the VGo robot can go anywhere a person wants to go. They can even attend school physically for students that are unable to go themselves. For example, there is a student in Texas that can’t be in a classroom safely because of his disability. With his VGo, now he can participate in classroom discussions, locker-side chats, lunch period, and even move from class to class. The VGo could be an option for students that have severe allergies or autoimmune disabilities.
In addition to schools, another great place for VGos are hospitals. Last year, a group of high schoolers helped raise money to purchase a VGo robot for a children’s medical center in Utah. There are 20-30 children at a time that are in this hospital and the group of students wanted to allow these kids to be able to attend class while they had to stay in their hospital bed.
VGos cost around $6,000 and can come with Verizon 4G LTE connectivity. Monthly charges are around $100 every month and additional charging stations are $500. The VGo doesn’t require a wi-fi connection to transmit the video feed, and it has a six hour battery life. You can connect to the VGo from both Macs and PCs. Some of the disadvantages of the VGo that have been observed already are the fact that closed doors and stairs are obstacles for them without human intervention, as well as the fact that since it only weighs 20 lbs, it could easily be stolen.
What do you think of these robots? Do you think this AT will catch on and can help people with disabilities live independently? Have you ever seen a VGo? Let us know in the comment box what you think about this communicating robot.