EVANSVILLE

A Janesville manufacturing company has donated a robot to JC McKenna Middle School in memory of a sick boy who couldn’t attend classes.

N1 Critical Technologies donated the mobile telepresence robot last week to help homebound students keep up on their schoolwork, according to a news release.

Homebound students can drive the wheeled robot through the school from home via a computer or smartphone. The school will provide an aide to assist the robot in navigating difficult areas, such as staircases and elevators.

The robot includes a tablet on a long stick that will display the student’s face. That way, students can hear lessons and participate in classes from home.

JC McKenna has two homebound students who could benefit from the robot. One kindergarten student in the district could benefit as well, JC McKenna Principal Joanie Dobbs said in the release.

Students can be deemed homebound because of illness, injury, hospitalization or other reasons.

The school also can use the robot to teleconference with parents who can’t attend parent-teacher conferences in person.

N1 donated a telepresence robot to Edison Middle School in Janesville in December 2017, according to a previous report in The Gazette.

The donations were inspired by N1 CEO Nate Ellsworth’s son, Max. Max’s best friend, Matt Winter, died from Ewing’s sarcoma in 2017 before his eighth-grade year at JC McKenna.

Winter was bedridden during his illness, and Max believed his friend could have benefited from having the robot.

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