News

How a robot could make long-term absenses easier

By Sarah Hainesworth, The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
February 9th, 2015

A new robot could make home and hospital learning easier for students and teachers

vgo-robotImagine a world where students could attend class right from the comfort of their own home.

The future of education might mean taking tests in your pajamas, eating lunch in your kitchen and never having to step outside on a snowy day, all because of a robot named VGo.

After a pilot program in Prince George’s County, a Crofton-based representative of the manufacturer is working to convince school systems the VGo allows ill students to attend classes remotely.

Controlled via laptop or remote control and equipped with microphones and video technology, VGo users can hear and see inside their classrooms, as well as speak to teachers or other students. The robot was developed by a New Hampshire company, VGo Communications.

Tom Lombardo, who owns a number of companies that work in education, is VGo’s representative in Maryland. He plans to present the VGo to Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Harford County Schools.

He presented the technology to Anne Arundel County Public Schools, but doesn’t expect them to adopt the VGo for home and hospital students in the near future.

“In terms of the budgeting, it would have to go into another budget cycle so they can’t act on it right now,” he said.

Lombardo said the VGo could work well with the online home and hospital tutors.

“This would compliment what they currently have in place,” he said.

“They have a different approach from PG County and it’s really cutting edge.”

Next page: How students actually used the robot