WeGo: Bringing the Aquarium to Critically Ill Children

A pilot program at the National Aquarium brings the wonder of the world’s aquatic treasures directly to children in local hospitals.

Published November 08, 2018

Children receiving life-saving treatment at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and University of Maryland Children’s Hospital are now able to explore the Aquarium thanks to the WeGo Foundation and a motorized robot called VGo. The 20-pound, 4-foot motorized robot is equipped with a camera, screen, and rolling wheels.

Through wireless technology, the hospitalized child sees what the VGo sees. The child is in the driver’s seat, deciding which exhibits they’d like to visit, how long they’d like to stay and even if they want to interact with other Aquarium guests!

A WeGo project volunteer manages the connection on the hospital side, and two Aquarium staff members follow VGo through the building, one acting as tour guide while the other helps the child navigate and engage with interested guests.

WeGo at the National Aquarium

The program was the brainchild of Galen Shi, a Johns Hopkins medical student and founder of the WeGo Foundation. After working for medical solutions developer ChinaBright one winter break, Galen was gifted VGo, under the condition that he would put it to good use!

WeGo and the Aquarium are now managing regular VGo sessions for kids at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

Learn about other ways the Aquarium offers accessible entry for our neighbors in Baltimore!

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