Avatar robot goes to school for a sick German boy

Joshua, a 7-year-old schoolboy, attends a school class on January 13, 2022, via a robot avatar located in a classroom in Berlin, Germany. REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke

January 14, 2022

Berlin (Reuters) – Joshua Martinangeli, 7, is ill and unable to go to school. However, German students can sit in class on their behalf and interact with teachers and classmates via an avatar robot that sends a flashing signal when something has to be said.

“The kids talk to him, laugh with him, and sometimes even chat with him during the lesson. Ute Winterberg, principal of the Pusheblume-Grundschule in Berlin, told Reuters in an interview.

Joshua is unable to attend the class because he wears a tube around his neck because of severe lung disease, said his mother Simone Martinangeli.

This project is a private initiative paid by the local council of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Berlin.

“We are the only district in Berlin where we bought four avatars for school. The driving force was COVID-19, but I think this will be a future far beyond the pandemic,” said the district education councilor. Torsten Kuehne said.

“Sometimes a child can’t go to class directly for a variety of reasons, and Avatar can give the child the opportunity to remain part of the school community,” says Kune. I did.

He added that he had already raised the project in a political debate at the state level.

“I like Avatar, so I like either way,” student Noah Kusner said when asked if he was looking forward to seeing Joshua again.

“And it would be better if Joshi could really come to school,” said another classmate, Veritan Aslangle.

(Report by Gabi Sajonz-Grimm, Oliver Barth, Fanny Brodersen, Written by Zuzanna Szymanska, Edited by Miranda Murray and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Avatar robot goes to school for a sick German boy

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