Ivo, the robot that can attend school on behalf of young patients

The first robots that allow children to follow their lessons as if they were at school, even though they are at home or in hospital, have been delivered to the Giacomo Ascoli foundation and some high schools in the province.

Ivo va a scuola

Participating in the life of their school class is possible, even for children who are forced to stay in hospital or at home for long periods of time, to undergo treatment. Thanks to “Ivo goes to school”, a solution that allows young patients to connect to their class, by video streaming, thanks to a tablet, in the child’s hands, to a robot present in the classroom, and to a connection provided by Eolo.

The project has been created by Elmec Informatica, where the son of one employee was forced to stay in hospital for a long time. However, he managed to attend the middle school, along with his classmates, thanks to the robot.

And it worked so well that it has now become a real opportunity for local schools and institutions: 10 robots were donated today, 8 March 2018, to the Giacomo Ascoli Foundation, a non-profit organisation that assists young patients affected by onco-haematological diseases, treated at the Paediatric Onco-haematological Day Hospital of the Filippo Del Ponte Hospital in Varese. And another 10 robots are going to be delivered to schools in the provinces of Varese and Milan.

HOW IVO WORKS

What is Ivo? The solution consists of a tablet, which is given to the young patient, and a robot on wheels, with a vertical support, which in turn is equipped with a tablet, and which attends the school on his behalf. The robot in the classroom streams the lessons and images of life in the class, and the child in hospital or at home, can guide his robot, which has wheels, so that he can move it around the classroom, follow his classmates, talk and interact with them.

The link is supported by Eolo, which provides a broadband connection of up to 100 Mbit/s, dedicated to the class attended by the hospitalised child. The technical services will be provided by the Network Division of Elmec, for the inspection in the schools, to verify coverage of the link, and for the implementation of the line that will be dedicated exclusively to the classroom in which the child is present, to ensure appropriate cover.

COMMENTS OF THOSE INVOLVED

“We’re happy to be able to make the IT technologies we develop every day for companies in Italy and abroad available for the education of children,” said Alessandro Ballerio, a partner and technical director of Elmec Informatica. “The hi-tech innovation created by Elmec is always destined not only to improve work, through digital technology, but also to generate a positive impact in the territory we operate in, and in society. Digital technology can really create connections to simplify life, and the project ‘Ivo goes to school’ is a concrete example.”

“We’re proud to be partners in this project and to provide our connectivity services for such an important and inclusive cause as ‘Ivo goes to school’,” said Daniela Daverio, the CEO of Eolo. “For us at Eolo, it’s essential to generate value in the territories we operate in, and we’re committed to collaborating with other players in the technology sector on projects like this.”

“I remember how distressing it was for Giacomo not to be able to attend school, while he was undergoing treatments, because of the long absences that his disease forced upon him,” said Marco Ascoli, the chairman of the Giacomo Ascoli Foundation, and father of Giacomo. “Even then, thanks to the school’s cooperation, we had made it possible for him to participate in class activities, via videoconferencing, and it was an extremely important support for him, not only to avoid being behind in the school curriculum, but above all because it allowed him to be a part of his class. Technology has made great steps, and today, our children can follow the lessons when they’ve been admitted to hospital, and when they’re at home, and keep in close contact with the classes and teachers, thanks to Elmec’s donation. These robots are such a great added value for us, from a point of view of the excellence of the treatments and assistance, that we want to continue, especially with the renovation of the newly opened ‘Giacomo Ascoli’ Day Hospital, which will make new, larger spaces available to children and their families.”

“On this occasion, my thanks go first of all to Elmec, who have already carried out several important initiatives for the hospital,” Callisto Bravi, the General Director of the Sette Laghi health authority, said. “I think this project should also be presented to the regional council. It’s very interesting to make it clear that Varese has innovations and makes valid proposals not only for its own facilities, but also for other regional and national organisations.”

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