New Brunswick’s Brilliant Labs Introduces Telepresence Robots

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FREDERICTON – Students and teachers from around New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and beyond will now be able to “beam” into a five-foot tall rolling robot that looks like a computer on wheels to gain access to the tech experts at Brilliant Labs.

The telepresence robots will allow students and teachers to beam in from anywhere in the province to access help from Brilliant Labs program director Jacob Lingley and engineer in residence Tri Ngo Ba.

“This is a great way to engage urban and rural students alike as they can collaborate and get advice from our team here in Fredericton,” said executive director of Brilliant Labs Jeff Willson in a release.

Students and teachers can book 30-minute time slots through the Brilliant Labs website. Once they receive their secure login credentials, they can take direct control of the robot and navigate freely around the lab and get first-hand instructional, technical and coding advice for their projects.

“We need to reach more students, but it’s impossible to be in Saint John to support a class for 8:30 a.m. and then be in Miramichi only minutes later,” said Wilson. “These telepresence robots are a way to make ourselves more accessible. Students can work with us and be physically present in our maker spaces. It makes project-based learning from a distance a more engaging and helpful experience.”

Brilliant Labs currently has three robots operating in New Brunswick, with a fourth on the way. Brilliant Labs piloted telepresence last year and the first Beam robot was placed at the Centre d’apprentissage du Haut-Madawaska, a Francophone school in Clair, New Brunswick.

“It’s our hope that students will be able to benefit from experts available around the world and also use the robots so that students may work collaboratively with other students and teachers from across the province,” said Wilson.