The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) in Fort Lauderdale has joined with the WeGo Foundation, an organization established in 2017 to help reduce the loneliness of hospitalized children nationwide by enabling them to visit and explore museums and aquariums from their hospital rooms using telepresence robotics. Through a fully controllable robot called R2 MODS, children can now explore MODS and interact with other guests and educators in a kid-friendly manner, all from the comfort of their hospital room.
“Play is universal—regardless of health or location—and accessibility is a key part of the Museum’s values,” Joseph P. Cox says, president and CEO of MODS. “The WeGo Foundation understands this and allows children to restore some autonomy, childhood wonder, and a sense of discovery. We’re thrilled to be able to explore with children from their hospital rooms virtually.”
MODS offers a unique opportunity for children to maneuver a robot through the museum remotely. It allows them to display their face and voice in real-time interactions with museum educators, other kids and guests. Thanks to MODS’ on-site technology, trained staff, and expertly-developed tours and experiences, kids and families can partake in this exciting partnership for free.
“Through WeGo, kids are able to alleviate the anxiety and isolation associated with pediatric inpatient hospitalizations and regain a sense of autonomy and normalcy as they maneuver the robots around attractions,” Galen Shi says, WeGo Managing Director and Founder. “It is a transformative experience for the kids and their families. During the tour, they are no longer the center of attention because they are sick. Instead, they are the center of attention because they are at MODS discovering science via a robot.”
The program works with hospitals nationwide, including Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Tours are available with partner institutions, such as MODS, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Field Museum in Chicago. The tours are scheduled through the WeGo Foundation platform.