Boy attends class by using state-of-the-art robot
WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — A first grader in Wynnewood is using a robot to attend class. Illnesses have kept the little guy out of school, and soon he’s going to have to undergo a bone marrow transplant in Denver. However, with his new robot he will be able to have the surgery skipping only one day of class.
“Do you see me Conrad?” Conrad Dixon’s classmates ask.
He does see them, but not how you would expect. Conrad sees his classmates, and they see his face in the monitor of a telepresence system – a robot. He has has to miss a lot of class because of severe allergies and a very rare immune system disorder.
It is so rare it does not have a name. As far as Conrad’s family knows, he is the only one in the world who has it. They hope a bone marrow transplant will get him healthy enough to enjoy a normal life. He leaves this weekend for Denver.
“I just have to have it, because I’m going to Denver for awhile for something called a bone marrow transplant, and I’m going to be leaving for awhile, and that’s all I pretty much know,” little Conrad said.
This is his second time to tinker with the robot. His fingers maneuver across the keys and mouse of a laptop and direct the device to just about anywhere he wants to go, teacher permitting.
“I don’t know if they would let me go into every room, but I could,” he said.
Even though Conrad will be in Denver, he will still be able to virtually be in the classroom and communicate with the rest of the students. Using his robot he can even attend field trips while controlling the device from hundreds of miles away from class. He is the first person in Oklahoma to have one.
“It’s funny because they might have lots of those in the future,” Conrad said.
Conrad’s school had a tough time trying to accommodate him until they found this one of a kind robot.
“It’s really truly been an answer to prayer,” Wynnewood Superintendent Raymond Cole said. “We have tremendous hope, and are very excited about this opportunity.”
Conrad leaves for Denver Saturday.