Avatar robot goes to school for ill German boy

BERLIN, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Seven-year-old Joshua Martinangeli is too ill to go to school. But the German student can still interact with his teacher and classmates through an avatar robot that sits in class in his place and sends out a blinking signal when he has something to say.

“The children talk to him, laugh with him and sometimes even chat with him during the lesson. Joshi can also do this very well,” Ute Winterberg, director of the Pusteblume-Grundschule in Berlin, told Reuters.

Joshua cannot attend classes as he has a tube in his neck due to a serious lung condition, his mother, Simone Martinangeli, said.

Register now for FREE and unlimited access to Reuters.com

The project is a private initiative funded by the local district council of Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

Seven-year-old schoolboy Joshua attends his school lesson via an avatar robot, placed in his classroom, in Berlin, Germany, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

“We are the only district in Berlin that has bought four avatars for its schools. The impetus was COVID-19, but I think that will be the future far beyond the pandemic,” said the district councilor of the district. education Torsten Kuehne.

“Once in a while, for various reasons, a child can’t attend class in person. Then the avatar can give that child a chance to stay in the school community,” Kuehne said.

He added that he had already raised the project in political discussions at the state level.

“I like it anyway because I like the avatar,” student Noah Kuessner said when asked if he was looking forward to seeing Joshua again.

“And I wish Joshi could really come to school,” said fellow classmate Beritan Aslanglu.

Register now for FREE and unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Gabi Sajonz-Grimm, Oliver Barth and Fanny Brodersen; Written by Zuzanna Szymanska; Editing by Miranda Murray and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment