Skip to main content

A 10-year-old cancer patient will soon attend school, as a robot

Double Robotics
Image used with permission by copyright holder
While most 10-year-olds have, at some point, feigned illness in desperate attempts to cut class, Peyton Walton is not most 10-year-olds. This brave Maryland native is currently undergoing cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, but that’s not stopping her from going to class, even if it’s not in the most traditional sense. Thanks to modern technology, Peyton will be represented in school by a robot she calls PAVS (Peyton’s Awesome Virtual Self), effectively an iPad on wheels that displays her face on its screen and allows her to interact with her peers and teachers, almost as though she were there in person.

“As they see that robot in the hallways, that’s Peyton,” said Douglas Robbins, principal of Poolesville Elementary School where PAVS will be representing Peyton. “She’s here, she’s with us and she’s going to engage in the school day, just like the rest of them.” Thanks to the iPad’s video conferencing capabilities, Peyton will be able to participate in class discussions, ask questions, and going about her normal school life, only from a totally different state.

Manufactured by Double Robotics, the iPad and rolling base combination will be completely controlled by Peyton from afar, using an app that allows her to guide the structure through the halls. “I try not to crash into walls,” she told local news stations, which will certainly come with practice. Double Robotics is known for providing their technology to bedridden or otherwise remote students, giving them the full classroom experience without being in the classroom.

Peyton’s mother, Lynn Schaeber, is certainly a fan of the Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-connected robot. “It’s technology — what 10-year-old doesn’t love technology?” she said. “There’s a cool factor to this.”

And in addition to being cool, Schaeber notes that PAVS introduces just a bit of normalcy into what is not the most run-of-the-mill of situations. “Peyton is able to have a little bit more autonomy in her education,” Schaeber told local media. “She has control over her day-to-day activities in school, whereas cancer takes that from her, and really isolates her.”

So roll on, PAVS. And have the best day at school.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more