No Isolation and the role technology can play in reducing loneliness
No Isolation’s mission is to put an end to loneliness amongst vulnerable groups by creating tailored communication tools. Children and young adults with a long-term illness face an increased risk of experiencing loneliness. To help reduce this, No Isolation created a telepresence robot.
The robot is the first of its kind and gives children and young adults with a long-term illness the chance to remain socially connected while in hospital or at home. The robot acts as the child’s eyes, ears and voice, allowing the child to connect and disconnect when they choose. It is already helping children across Europe to stay connected to their everyday lives, as they are able to follow classes, and take part in events on the weekend.
Jack is 15 years old. Due to his disability, Jack has been in and out of hospital care his entire life. Jack has multiple conditions – he is oxygen-dependent and a wheelchair user.
When he was 14 years old, as a result of his health, he had been homebound for several months, unable to go outside. Jack is a passionate Everton fan, and he has attempted to attend matches throughout his life. Some trips were successful, but others had to be cancelled due to weather or Jack’s day-to-day health.
Jack’s lifelong dream had been to walk out on the pitch as a team mascot alongside his heroes, but the size of his wheelchair and his unstable condition made this impossible. Jack’s telepresence robot changed this. As Everton faced Newcastle, Jack entered the grass of Goodison Park in the arms of Everton captain Phil Jagielka, accompanied by the 40,000 cheers of the Blues. Jack, however, was safe and comfortable at home and attended the match through his robot.
At half-time, the robot was placed at the centre of the field, giving Jack a feel of the Goodison Park atmosphere and his favourite song was played in his honour.
Makayla’s ME has had a massive impact on her life, reducing her hours at school, stopping her from seeing friends and forcing her give up sports and hobbies.
For children with debilitating illness, loneliness can be an exceptionally big problem for them however, technology is helping give children like Makayla a chance to connect with others as well as keep up with their education.
AV1 is an avatar robot that allows Makayla to participate in school. She is able to take part in lessons from her home using her iPad and the robot acts as her eyes and voice.