Posted on April 14, 2015

April 13, 2015  –  Casa Grande, Arizona

When first-grader Tyler Ashcroft can?t go to school, his robot goes for him and transmits everything to Tyler?s iPad at home. His robot is a Segway, two-wheeled electrical vehicle, with an iPad head and a Mesquite School T-shirt.

Tyler controls the robot with his iPad. He can move the robot around, raise and lower it, position it to see the white board, see what’s on a desk or interact with his teacher or peers.

Meanwhile, Tyler’s face, words and actions show up on the robot’s iPad so his teacher and peers can see and hear him, too. “If I’m pale and I can’t go to school, I stay at home, use the iPad, and it controls the robot,” Tyler said. “If I’m pale and I can’t go to school, and I don’t have a robot, then I can’t go to school.”

Maria Berecin-Rascon, director of special education for the Casa Grande Elementary School District, said one day “the robot was walking down the hall, and the kids were saying: “Hi, Tyler” “Hi, Tyler,” — just as if he were walking down the hall himself.”

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