Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Robot helps seriously ill Everton fan make history

Robot helps seriously ill Everton fan make history

Everton defender Phil Jagielka holds a robot that allowed teenage fan Jack McLinden to be a 'virtual matchday mascot' ahead of their English Premier League match with Newcastle United at Goodison Park on Monday night. AFP
Everton defender Phil Jagielka holds a robot that allowed teenage fan Jack McLinden to be a 'virtual matchday mascot' ahead of their English Premier League match with Newcastle United at Goodison Park on Monday night. AFP

Robot helps seriously ill Everton fan make history

A seriously ill teenage Everton fan made history on Monday by becoming the world’s first ‘virtual matchday mascot’ ahead of his beloved team’s home Premier League match with Newcastle United.

Jack McLinden, a 14-year-old who suffers from multiple health conditions and is wheelchair bound, was able to enjoy the once in a lifetime mascot experience through the Norwegian-designed telepresence robot, AV1.

It was the first time a child has been able to perform matchday mascot duties remotely, with the robot’s integrated camera, microphone, and speaker enabling the virtual experience of going onto the pitch.

Everton team captain Phil Jagielka carried the robot as he led his team out with the AV1 connected to McLinden’s iPad at home – allowing him to see and hear the experience in real-time through the telepresence robot avatar.

“We are thrilled to have had the chance to do this for Jack and we hope it has provided him with a memory he will always treasure,” said Scott McLeod, Head of Engagement at Everton Football Club.

AV1 is designed to help combat loneliness in children and young adults with long-term illnesses, by allowing them to attend school and social occasions through the device’s connection to a smartphone or tablet, allowing them to see, hear and communicate with others.

Colin Dyer, chief executive of Wellchild, the national charity for seriously ill children and their families, said the technology could help alleviate the sense of isolation.

“We think the little robot could be a massive boon for children with complex needs, whose conditions mean that they cannot be everywhere they want to be in person,” Dyer said.

“There is a growing population of families who are caring for a seriously ill child at home. We know that feelings of isolation are a common issue for many children and families in this situation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections

    A Malaysian parliamentarian raised concerns in his country on Wednesday about Cambodia’s July 29 national elections and urged his government to clarify its position on the subject, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on Thursday. Wong Chen, a member of the People’s

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not