Meet COVi – a virtual presence device

There’s a robot roaming the halls of Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. A robot named COVi. The device allows guests to easily visit classrooms virtually with the ability to be interactive and move about the classroom, even visiting students desk by desk, all without actually stepping foot in the classroom. Although the idea of obtaining this robot originated before the pandemic, it has been a welcomed addition this school year, allowing teachers to deliver education like never before. There are plans for COVi to visit additional schools in the future as well.

Allen Whittaker is the Project Lead for the Technology Advantage Program and was instrumental in obtaining COVi. He provides the following COVi tidbits:

What/who is COVi?

1) COVi is a virtual presence device; think iPad on a Segway, or what Sheldon Cooper is known to have used on the Big Bang Theory. This allows us to go into schools, businesses, or bring in specialists and outside experts. Users can navigate the device around by logging into COVi and “driving” it like a video game from a computer, laptop or even their cell phone!

How does COVi benefit students?

2) In 2019, when I first took on the Role of Project Lead for TAP, there were many businesses that would have loved to host our students but didn’t have room for 20+ students in their offices. With COVi, it only takes one person (plus COVi) to venture around. Also, due to public health guidelines, experts and guests can’t currently visit schools, but COVi provides better access and allows guests to be more interactive within the classroom as they can navigate around and check on group work.

Where did the name COVi come from?

3) COVi came to us from Double Robotics, and is the Double 3 model. The company is located in California. We ordered COVi in October 2019 and received it almost 10 months later! The delay was due to COVID-19. The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development purchased COVi for us and because of the delivery delays, they appropriately named it COVi.