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Eye On Education: Tyngsboro High Student Uses Robot To Keep Up In School

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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Award-winning journalist Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 6PM...
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BOSTON (CBS) – We all get by with a little help from our friends. For one boy recovering from a double lung transplant and trying to keep up in school, that friend just happens to be a robot.

Connor Flanagan is using the VGo robot, which is made by a New Hampshire company.

Using his laptop from home, Connor can direct the robot to go anywhere in Tyngsboro High School. The robot creates a two-way feed over the internet so that he can participate with his classmates in real-time.

He can also talk to fellow students as VGo roams the halls of the school. “It’s pretty important, because you know what is going on and everything,” said Connor.

Connor has been able to keep up with his fellow 9th graders by having VGo attend his classes. His mother Jennifer believes there are other benefits. “We know that probably half of going to school is the social aspect and this technology lets him have that. The robot was in a school picture, at the end of 8th grade, because he couldn’t be there that day.”

Jennifer believes the device could be having a positive impact on his healing process. “We’ve seen with Connor, that when he is happy socially and emotionally, the physical just kind of goes along with it.”

A VGo robot costs about $6,000, but Tyngsboro High School Principal Mike Woodlock says it has already paid for itself because the cost of tutoring a sick child is so costly.

Connor knows he’s been lucky to have this robot, but is ready to walk the halls of Tyngsboro High School in person.

The target date for his return is March 17th.

If you have a story idea you think should be featured in Eye On Education, email Paula Ebben at eyeoneducation@cbs.com

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