Norwegian company No Isolation has developed a simple robot intended to help kids with long-term illnesses stay in touch with their schools and friends.
The firm's AV1 unit is already in real-life use in Norway and Sweden, and the company expects to have active units in Denmark and the Netherlands by end of this month.
The AV1 robot is shaped like a stylized head and upper body. It has a camera, microphone, and loudspeaker built-in, and its eyes light up when the child is connected. A signal light on top comes on to show when the child wants to raise its hand in class.
The unit can turn its head up and down, as well as rotate sideways, so the child can see the whole class.
The robot is remotely controlled by the child via an app on a mobile phone or tablet. AV1 is equipped with both a Wi-Fi wireless network as well as 2G/3G/4G mobile networks. It runs on batteries, so the child can even join classmates out in the schoolyard during breaks.
The company No Isolation is quite young; it was established in 2015, and the AV1 product has been available since fall 2016. Currently, 120 AV1s are in regular use in Norway, with a handful of the units in place in Sweden, spokeswoman Anna Heide tells ZDNet.
The company has also attracted major partners, such as the Norwegian Cancer Society, the Children's Cancer Society, the Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities, and the Swedish Children Cancer Fund.
"The Children's Cancer Society was among our very first investors," Heide says.
No Isolation recently signed a distribution agreement with Atea, one of the largest IT companies in Norway. Atea will offer the AV1 robot to schools and municipalities in the Nordic countries.
The company has a presence in seven countries in the Nordics and Baltic. In parallel, No Isolation is about to establish an office in the Netherlands.