The first ever virtual football Mascot, AV1

Sometimes you need to move a mountain to do be able to live your life.

And if you have a disability or long-term illness, you may have to search for new and innovative ways to do the things many of us take for granted.

This includes seeking out and using new technology like the AV1 robot to go places where people can’t.

AV1 has been developed to help children who have disabilities and chronic illnesses to remotely attend school, or key life events like their school prom night, from home.

It works by sending panoramic live images and sound back to the remote-user’s tablet, wherever they are, and a microphone allows the user to chat with people around the robot.

Virtual Everton FC mascot

Everton Football Club fan Jack McLinden, 14, who has multiple health conditions that stop him attending live matches, became the first ever virtual football mascot last year thanks to AV1.

Jack was mascot for Everton’s Premier League game against Newcastle United at Goodison Park in April.

At the game Everton captain Phil Jagielka carried the AV1 robot to give Jack a virtual experience of being a mascot.

AV1 helps to overcome the social isolation and lack of opportunities some people with disabilities face, allowing them to enjoy experiences that others can.

As Jack’s mother Michelle Wignall told the BBC, it was a “once in a lifetime experience” for him.

Finding Friends

Other people who use technology including AV1 to overcome social inclusion include Lewis Hine, who won the Tech4Good Special Award last year.

Lewis is a disability rights campaigner who was unable to attend school due to receiving hospital treatment for his long-term illness.

When he was 14 he discovered there are over one million children in the UK with a long-term illness or disability who don’t attend school regularly.

So he founded the charity Friend Finder Official and began to use social media to arrange activities like Christmas parties, discos, wheelchair basketball, gaming sessions, soft play sessions, indoor skiing.

These activities help children who have missed many similar activities because they’re unable to attend school to enjoy life experiences, make friends and socialise.

Recite Me is a sponsor of the Tech4Good Awards and we were deeply impressed by Lewis and his achievements, which show how brilliant social media platforms can be to connect people.

Ultimately, platforms like Friend Finder Official and technology such the AV1 robot are wonderful examples of how technology can make the world a more inclusive place.

100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.

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