7-year Devon Carrow-Sperduti from New York suffers from a fatal allergic reaction to many foods and even smells. Deadly allergies mean this little boy must spend most of his life in isolation but it does not mean he gets out of doing his school homework. In place of seven-year-old Devon Carrow-Sperduti, he sends a robot to school, allowing him to answer questions in class and even be part of schoolyard gossip, all while he sits in the safety of his bedroom, five miles away.
The amazing technology, called the VGo robot, has an interactive screen allowing Devon to interact with his classmates, despite never having met them face-to-face, at Winchester Elementary School in West Seneca, New York.
Devon's robot has his own desk in the classroom and can volunteer to answer his teacher's questions with a flashing light, rather than raising his hand.
Mother Rene said the $5,000 (£3,100) robot stops Devon from becoming a social recluse.
She said: ‘The children don't call the machine the “VGo”, it's just Devon.
There is a high-definition camera on his computer at his bedroom desk and on the top of the VGo machine, which stands at about the height of a primary school pupil, and is on wheels, making it mobile like a Segway.
The VGo is basically a virtual Devon. It helps him feel included, and realise that he still has to go to school the same as any other child.
The only thing that's different is Devon is not in the classroom.
He's required to do everything every other kid does in the class. He doesn't get any special treatment, because he has to be treated just the same as everybody else.’
As well as being unable to go to school, Devon survives on a restricted diet, eating just corn, apple and potatoes. Rene, a social worker, said: ‘He's a walking time bomb. He also suffers from severe skin allergies. His hands get red and scaly easily. They become so irritated, sometimes the skin splits open and he can't pick up a pen to write. Even the smell of fabric softener can cause his throat to close. 'He's almost like the boy in a bubble. I try to let him do some things. I want him to have the best life he could have.’