Robert Evans, a 14-year-old St. Louis Children’s Hospital patient diagnosed with leukemia, found respite in the robotics program created by the combined efforts of the Saint Louis Science Center and Keith Miller, the Orthwein Professor for Lifelong Learning in the Sciences at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
Through the usage of an iPad at the hospital and a VGo robot stationed at the science center, Evans was able to participate in activities and interact with other children. This innovative strategy to lift the spirits of patients awaiting medical treatment was featured in a CNN Vital Signs segment where Miller explained the project’s scope and purpose.
“It’s interesting to see the technology surrounding these children, because some of them are in intensive care,” he said. “Some of those machines are keeping them alive or helping to cure them, where ours are almost toys or communication devices. And at first I thought, ‘Oh, how trivial.’ But when we did the VGo and hooked up kids at the children’s hospital with kids at the science center, the kind of engagement that took place surprised me. And I didn’t feel so trivial anymore.”