Robot bridges the gap between young patients on isolation and hospital school peers


Constantly innovating ways to keep schoolwork on track while kids receive treatment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the Hospital School now has a new tool to help patients stay engaged — both in their lessons and with their peers.

It’s a two-wheeled, telepresence robot named The Double, and it resembles a Segway. The Double stays in the classroom at the school and is remotely controlled by the patient — regardless of where the patient is in the hospital.

Student-patients like Anuj Nanuvati, 16, a high school junior, who knows what it’s like to be isolated from his peers due to illness. He was diagnosed in July 2015 with lymphoma, and as a result of his treatment was immune-suppressed for a period and had to be in isolation before having a two-pound tumor removed from his chest. “It gets lonely,” Anuj told Palo Alto Daily reporter Jacqueline Lee, who covered the story. “So, the part that’s really nice is seeing other kids and being able to talk to them and play board games and card games with them.”

On a recent robot-demonstration day, the school set up the regular Thursday science lab in the classroom with the Double (above), and a teacher brought another lab setup to a patient room with Anuj (below). Anuj controlled the robot on an iPad to see how teacher Julie Fogarty performed the stages of the experiment in the classroom, and replicated the actions in his own bedside lab.


“The robot is used with different patients day-to-day as needed,” said teacher Kevin Danie. “It’s particularly helpful for cystic fibrosis patients who can’t be around others with the disease due to cross-infection risks. Also, the Double is huge for kids receiving bone marrow transplants, as they are required to be in 100 days of isolation post-transplant.”

The Hospital School, part of the Palo Alto Unified School District, worked with the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to request a grant to purchase the robot. Bank of America, a longtime supporter of the hospital, answered the call to fund the grant.

“It’s the perfect merging of technology and human need,” said Bank of America market president Raquel Gonzalez. “Rather than be in isolation, the students can be with their peers and continue their learning.”

You can make a difference in the lives of Anuj and other patients receiving care at Packard Children’s by visiting

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