Robot helps young Everton fan serve as matchday mascot
A 14-year-old Everton fan became part of Premier League history on Monday by serving as a "remote" matchday mascot against Newcastle with the aid of a robot.
Jack McLinden suffers from multiple health conditions and has severely reduced mobility, but was able to savour the experience of joining his heroes on the pitch thanks to the telepresence robot AV1.
The device allowed McLinden to interact with Everton players in the tunnel before the game in real time via a camera, microphone and speaker linked with his tablet.
Toffees captain Phil Jagielka then carried the unit out onto the field. McLinden's mother, Michelle Wignall, said the day marked a "once-in-a-lifetime experience" for her son.
🤖 | Introducing the world's first 'virtual matchday mascot', enabling a a child too sick to travel from home get the full experience at Goodison! @_noisolation @WellChild! #JacksRobotMascot— Everton (@Everton) April 23, 2018
Story 👉🏼 https://t.co/wnrxE4b8qJ pic.twitter.com/aTr4YOXQ65
🤖 | Meet Jack, who will be getting the full matchday mascot experience from the comfort of his own home via the AV1 robot thanks to @_noisolation and @WellChild! #JacksRobotMascot pic.twitter.com/MlQOPxACJC— Everton (@Everton) April 23, 2018
Everton's head of engagement Scott McLeod said: "The most important thing for everybody at the club is that we have had the opportunity, through this amazing technology and the work with No Isolation and WellChild, to do something incredible for an inspirational young Evertonian.
"We are thrilled to have had the chance to do this for Jack and we hope it has provided him with a memory he will always treasure."
Norwegian company No Isolation designed AV1 to help children with long-term illness battle loneliness and attend school from home, partnering with UK charity WellChild to give the Liverpool teenager an unforgettable Goodison Park experience.
"Technology is about making the seemingly impossible possible. For Jack, the dream of being a mascot for his favourite football club was not likely to happen given his condition," said No Isolation CEO Karen Dolva.
"Working with such a wonderful and inclusive club as Everton to give Jack this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a moment myself and those working at our company will never forget."