What’s the biggest problem facing young people undergoing treatment for long-term illness?
According to the Patience Project’s Ben Martell, it’s isolation.
“The thing they miss the most are their mates. It's not actually school that they miss out on, it's their mates.”
So, after supporting his son through his own long-term illness, Ben set about using his tech background to help other kids going through a similar experience.
“We put a 360-degree live streaming camera in the classroom in the same place that the kid normally would be. We give the kid a virtual reality headset and then we live-stream that back to the kid whether they're in hospital or at home.
“We also nominate a buddy, which is a very important thing, and that creates an island of social connection within the classroom and there is a really important part of their whole wellbeing and a better outcome for them in the end.”
It’s a great idea, but not without limitations. Limitations 5G could potentially solve.
Peter is a student with first-hand experience of the Patience Project. Whilst being treated for Leukaemia he used the technology to stay in touch with his classmates.
“With texting my friend that was in the class, sometimes the camera would be a bit slower than what the actual classroom was doing. So, I would hear it a bit later. I’d text my friend but by then they had already passed that stuff.”
5G’s massive reduction is latency offers a solution for problems like these. But it also has a potential beyond speed. Ben is enthusiastic about the possibilities.
“I'm genuinely excited about 5G because one of the limitations for us to scale up as a charity is the fact that the equipment is so expensive right now. What we're aiming to do, and we'll be testing in this 5G lab in the coming months, is an embodiment of our solution which lowers the cost by putting less hardware inside the classroom and more of the solution in the cloud.
“The goal for the Patience Project is to take this to every sick child in the country who has a long term illness. And 5G is going to be a big part of that.”
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