Norway’s No Isolation avatar is designed to help children and young adults participate in their regular daily activities such as school and play with friends.
Children and young people with long-term illnesses suffer doubly by often being forced into isolation for extended periods. As research continues to show the negative effects isolation has on health, physical and mental wellbeing, Norwegian start-up No Isolation decided to create a hardy, friendly, small avatar designed to be carried around by schoolchildren to help their absent classmates participate in everyday activities. The avatar is controlled by an app, so even patients requiring bed rest can take part. Lights on top of the avatar’s head indicate when the person at home wishes to speak or remain in listening mode.
A microphone, camera, loudspeaker and two eyes on the device allow for easy two-way communication, and the user can swivel the avatar’s head for 360-degree views of the space. In school, the avatar can be placed on or near the student’s usual seat and transported between classes and even outside for connected play. Parents are encouraged to get in touch if they have a child who could benefit from the avatar, and the availability of shipping across Europe is imminent.
The importance of mental health, and the role played by nature, is increasingly being recognized and provided for in a variety of ways. An Australian hospital is using interactive, light-emitting tiles to create scenes of nature and play in children’s wards, and this lamp simulates sunshine for windowless rooms. How are workplaces successfully incorporating the benefits of the natural world into the wellbeing of employees?