Winchester Elementary School teacher Dawn Voelker carries a VGo robot up the stairs that is being operated by Devon Carrow while he is attending school, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in West Seneca N.Y.
The robot senses stairs and stops, but even they aren't insurmountable because, at 18 pounds, the robot is light enough for a teacher to lift. Before moving forward, Devon scans the camera downward to make sure he won't run into a classmate who might be crouching to tie a shoe. The VGo also warns of large objects ahead.
"Walking down a hallway, seeing other kids," Principal Brachmann said. "You couldn't expose somebody on a Skype session that way. It would just be like a TV screen. With this he really gets a feel, a sensation, of being there."