Ian Camm’s BubbleBuster Ben Nevis Adventure

Thursday, August 10th, 2023

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Our little desktop BubbleBuster robots are usually found on school classroom desks, acting as the eyes, ears and voice for children who can’t attend due to immunity deficiencies. But one robot had the ride of a lifetime recently, strapped into a baby carrier and looking out from the summit of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.

It had been carried there by Ian Camm, a valued friend and supporter of the charity whose son, Rob, is one of our Trustees. Ian was part of a charity team tackling the Three Peaks 24 Hour Challenge, which raised over £15,000 for the 4Ed Foundation.

For Ian, the challenge was both a fundraiser and a reconnaissance mission to see if there was a way in the future for Rob to drive his powered wheelchair up Ben Nevis.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Rob has scaled the heights. Rob and his wheelchair have already smashed challenges like completing a Tough Mudder and reaching the top of Yr Wyddf, the highest mountain in Wales.

The robot performed brilliantly. Rob was able to watch the climb from his house in the south of England, assessing the terrain for himself, chatting to his father and taking in the views.

Ultimately there was mixed news. The robot had enabled both Ian and Rob to get a good look at the mountain route – “It couldn’t have gone better,” said Ian – but they both realised that it wouldn’t be suitable for Rob’s wheelchair. “It was just impossible,” remarked Ian, but his disappointment was tempered with the knowledge that now Ben Nevis was off the list, the pair could look for a different challenge.

“The robot’s now on the way back to SpecialEffect for more regular use,” said Ian. “But it shows that it can have so many uses in allowing someone to engage in so many activities!”

The AV1 telepresent desktop robots that we use in our BubbleBusters project are produced by No Isolation. They have their own personalities and take the child’s place in the classroom and playground. The child is able to hear, see and speak to their friends and teacher from their home or hospital bed using a mobile phone or tablet.