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Injured student attends classes via robot

  • Haven High School junior Jonathan Carlson, right, chats with Kolton Kincaid during lunch in the cafeteria Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 in Haven, Kan. Kincaid controlled a robot from Denver, where he is in rehabilitation after a farm accident, and cruised electronically through his school, talking to students and teachers. (AP Photo/The Hutchinson News, Sandra J. Milburn)

HAVEN, Kan. — Tuesday was the first time 16-year-old Kolton Kincaid, who was paralyzed in a farm accident last month, was able to roam the halls of Haven High School again — even though he's still undergoing rehabilitation in Denver.

Yep, the Haven High School student was in two places at once.

Students at Haven High School gasped Tuesday when they received a surprise visit from Kolton, who talked to them from a Segway-style robot he was controlling from Denver.

In Denver, he was using an iPad application to move the robot into Haven High School's cafeteria during lunch and down the halls of the school, where he talked to friends and teachers. The robot's iPad, attached to a long pole and wheels, gave a live view of Kolton.

Kolton was trying out one of the three "Double" robots from Double Robotics that belong to the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas, based in Hutchinson, The Hutchinson News reported (http://bit.ly/19chcuh ).

"Hey, Kolton!" Haven High School students called out to him in the noisy cafeteria as he moved among the aisles of tables, quickly finding friends to talk to.

Then, he was off down the hallway toward Drew Thalmann's physical science class.

"He definitely knows the school quite well," said Steve Wyckoff, ESSDACK chief innovation officer, as the robot whizzed toward Thalmann's classroom.

Freshman Alex Rosiere spotted the robot coming toward Thalmann's open classroom door. His eyes widened when he recognized Kolton's face, and he immediately threw his hands up in the air to form the shape of a heart. After a brief lapse in the wireless Internet connection, the robot was back online, with Kolton ribbing Thalmann about his budding beard.

"No-shave November turned into don't-shave December," Thalmann explained.

Kolton wished the basketball players luck in their home game Tuesday night against Kingman, and they reminded him how everyone would be wearing blue at the game to support him.

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