A digital pilot project at the Children’s Cancer Center at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) will see eight instead of three robots attend school on behalf of children with cancer in future, a press release said Friday (February 14, 2020). The robot named “Karlsson” is almost 30 centimetres in height and sports a camera, microphone and loudspeakers. An LED signal allows him to talk and take part in everyday school life. The “Karlsson” project is backed by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the Education and Counselling Centre (BBZ) and is managed by the Fördergemeinschaft Kinderkrebs-Zentrum Hamburg e. V. association and UKE’s Clinic and Polyclinic for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology.
The avatar is set up in the classroom and operated by the young patients via a tablet. The patient, who is in hospital, is not seen. An internet connection between the avatar and the tablet is established via WLAN or built-in LTE mobile radio and is encrypted end-to-end.
Hopes are now high that sick children will miss as little school as possible and remain part of the class community: “This promotes reintegration after illness and offers patients a piece of normal life during the isolation phases caused by illness and therapy,” said Dr. Beate Winkler, senior doctor at UKE’s Clinic and Polyclinic for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology. Founded by parents of children with cancer, the association has supported UKE’s Clinic and Polyclinic for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology since 1975. It raises awareness of cancer in children under the theme “Crack Cancer”.