Skipping class 21st century style

Posted on June 14, 2005 at 12:51 AM

In the current edition of Wired Magazine, they have a section devoted to Nextfest, Wired's World Fair inspired technology convention, which highlights new and innovative technologies of the oh-so-near future. Items of note would be the Moller Sky car, self-healing polymers, or optical camouflage. But what really caught my eye was Pebbles, a teleconferencing robot designed specifically for sick/bedridden/hospitalized children to participate in school and feel more connected socially with their peers.

Now with all seriousness, I think any type of technology that can be used to help children who spend a lot of their childhood in hospitals due to illness feel more like a normal child is wonderful. But I couldn't help but notice the image Wired used to illustrate the Pebbles technology:

Pebbles robotic teleconferencing

Do you see what I mean? Let's take a closer look.

Pebbles picture close-up

Now do you see it? Just imagine the scenario.

Little Suzy thought she could skip school today and enjoy the beautiful weather outside with a relaxing dip in the pool. Next thing she knows she's in a teleconference with her classroom. Still in her pink swimsuit and donning wet hair, she zooms the camera in close on her face to hide the fact she just got out of pool, er *cough* *cough* I mean bed. The uncomfortable look on her face completely gives away the fact that she knows she is totally busted and is quietly thinking to her 9 year old self, "Damn you pebbles robotic teleconferencing. Damn you!"

I think this definitely qualifies as one of those "What were you thinking?" moments to the person at Wired Magazine that slapped this picture together. The thought of photoshopping a picture of an obviously not sick, not bedridden, look-at- me-I-just-got-out-of-the-pool-girl (still in her swimsuit) into a device used to help seriously ill children probably never crossed their mind.

I'd submit the picture to Jay Leno's Headlines but I'm way too lazy and after all it's probably not that funny.

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