Kirsty Andrews guiding residents of Feros Village Wommin bay along with a robot which provides a virtual tour for residents that cannot physically attend through the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News
Kirsty Andrews guiding residents of Feros Village Wommin bay along with a robot which provides a virtual tour for residents that cannot physically attend through the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News Nolan Verheij-Full

Robot opens eyes

WATCH out! New robot about.

Wheel-I-Am, essentially an iPad on a stick with wheels, has joined the Kingscliff Feros Care Village.

The "telepresence robot" allows residents to see the world without having to leave the comfort of their home.

It streams footage back to residents at the aged care home using an internet connection and last week had its first outing to tour the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah.

Wommin Bay resident John Pidcock, aged 92, said viewing the museum's relics through the "eyes" of the robot was an invaluable experience.

"This is very inspiring.

"I'm enjoying being able to take the tour even if I can't be there.

"The statues and the history at the museum are wonderful."

Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the device was bought from Double Robotics a year ago.

"Wheel-I-Am can be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world over the internet and using a secure connection.

"It uses a front-facing camera with 360 degree mobility and receives real-time video and audio of social activities so that the residents at the village can participate in conversations.

"It's important that when everyone has the opportunity to sit around the dinner table and reminisce about the great day out, even if they aren't physically able to be there."

But those hoping to ditch their selfie sticks in favour of a Wheel-I-Am, be warned - the robot won't be able to take happy snaps of you at the beach or get up and down steps. "It is designed to be used predominantly indoors on a steady surface.

"It is not an all-terrain robot," Ms Buckley said.

It has a battery life of eight hours.



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