Home Month and Year December 2020 Telepresence Robot Helps Sick Child

Telepresence Robot Helps Sick Child

The Double 2 robot.

Z3 Network Solutions Inc, a Calgary-based IT managed services firm, announced today they will be donating a Double 2 telepresence robot to Cody Kirk, a teenager who has a rare disease and is unable to physically attend Notre Dame High School. The robot will allow him to attend school from his home.

The Double 2 robot is an iPad-based innovative technology that uses gyroscope and accelerometer sensors in its base, and is controlled with a desktop, tablet, or smartphone1. Its ease of use will allow Cody to travel between classes and interact better with students and teachers.

Z3 Networks was first approached by Matthew Zuberec in mid July. At that time, Matthew noticed an article from the local newspaper that featured a telepresence device from Z3 Networks. He had built a similar device himself, a simple one that needed more resources and development, which he did not have. When he saw the Double 2 telepresence robot, he knew this would be the solution to the problem his friend, Cody Kirk, was facing.

Cody Kirk, 17, was born with a rare degenerative disorder – Gaucher disease type 1. When he was 12, he developed severe tremors and ended up in a wheelchair. The disease evolved from type 1 (treatable) to type 3 (incurable), a subacute neurological form of the disease with symptoms such as memory loss, intellectual disability, seizures, bone pain, fatigue, enlarged liver and death of bone due to decreased blood supply2. Cody experiences epilepsy, anxiety, panic attacks and bone pain/brittle bones. After one of his violent panic attacks, Cody broke six bones, one of them being his femur and has not been able to leave home since.

Michael MacDonald, Pre-Engineering instructor, at Notre Dame High School teaches Cody his class via Google chat. The course is a “Design Thinking” project-based class that enables the students to design and build for real world problems. The class decided to build a robot as their project to help Cody but before they could complete it, the pandemic hit.

Anita Graham, Cody’s mom, says: “When Cody test drove the robot, I had not seen him that excited in so long. He told me he will actually feel like one of the ‘crew’ at school. This gives Cody the feeling of normalcy.”

The possibilities and uses of the Double 2 robot go beyond the school. “Not only will this allow Cody to be in class, he can visit his grandparents and friends on the weekend,” says Darryl Graham, owner of Z3 Networks.