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Botkins! Little robots that allow bedbound patients to explore the world!


Senior Member
U.S., Earth
Botkins! Little robots that allow bedbound patients to explore the world!

Bedridden Swiss ME patient Dejan Lauber has designed a small robot that his family takes with them wherever they go. This allows bedbound Dejan to follow their lives via his small robot.

Now he wants to make small robots for any bedbound ME or Long Covid patient who wants them. He has set up a charity called the Botkins Charity Project to fund this endeavor. He is currently seeking donations.


The Botkins Charity Project aims to make simple hobbyist robots accessible to people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or LongCovid who are homebound or bedridden. Volunteer tinkerers/laity build the low-tech robots on a small budget, and Botkins connects tinkerers with patients and covers the costs. The robots can be used to virtually visit friends and family or participate in outings that can improve the quality of life for chronically ill people, and are controlled via smartphone or PC.

Patients typically do not have the strength to build such do-it-yourself telepresence robots themselves. Botkin's Charity Project is trying to provide access to robots, but relies on donations and volunteers. Material costs per robot are about 400€, assembly costs about 50€, the robots are given to chronic patients with or without cost sharing (about 50%).

The association does not pursue commercial purposes and does not aim for profit. Botkins thanks the non-profit project Vigibot, its open-source instructions ( https://www.robot-maker.com/forum/topic/12794-how-to-add-my-raspberry-pi-robot- on-vigibot-to-control-my-robot-over-the-internet/ ), documentation ( https://www.robot-maker.com/forum/topic/12787-vigibot-faq-en-fr/ ), 3D files, modified parts list ( https://github.com/efeuentertainment/vigicad/ ) and software that Botkins uses.

In addition to helping the aforementioned patients, another purpose of the project is to make the general public aware of the situation of people suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). Botkins receives valuable help and information from the Swiss Society for ME and CFS ( https://sgme.ch ), as well as assistance in selecting suitable patients.

Donation details:

IBAN: CH81 8080 8009 8363 5484 4

Recipient: Botkins Charity Project, 3752 Wimmis, CH - Switzerland, SWIFT-BIC: RAIFCH22

Paypal: https://paypal.me/BotkinsCharity

Twint / RaiseNow: https://pay.raisenow.io/vxxbd

Contact Details:

Send us a direct message (DM) on any social media platform @BotkinsCharity.

To reach our goal, Botkins needs help and is looking for:

- Donations of any amount to pay for materials and compensate tinkerers: see donation details.

- Hobbyists willing to build robots. 1) (Botkins will pay for materials) Volunteer or for a fixed fee: send us your contact information, country, and if you have access to a 3D printer. 2) You want to pay for the materials yourself, build a robot and donate the finished robot to a chronically ill person: Contact us.

- Homebound or bedridden patients interested in a robot: Send us your contact information, country, severity (Bell Scale) and current situation (are parents, relatives or friends available for outings with the robot?).

- Workshop leaders: we don't know yet how workshops will work.

- You think Botkins is a great cause: tell others about Botkins or create a post on social media and tag @BotkinsCharity . You can also share video clips of the robots from "firened": see test drive.

Test drive a robot, quick driving instructions:

Interested parties can try out Vigibot's internet controls for themselves to see if their smartphone or PC can handle the control software, or just for fun.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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