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New technology allows sick child to take virtual field trips

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Being sick and cooped up in a hospital room for weeks - or even months - is enough to make any kid go stir crazy. Unfortunately many children staying at St. Louis Children's Hospital are too sick to leave.

Heather Gwin, 9, has been receiving treatment for Cystic Fibrosis at Riley Children's Hospital in her hometown of Indianapolis for years. Heather's mom, Jennifer Gwin, said things took a turn and they were referred to St. Louis Children's Hospital where Heather is waiting to have a double lung transplant and a liver transplant.

Heather is one of 14 children in her family, and Jennifer said it can be a challenge to find ways to keep her energetic daughter busy during long stays in the hospital. Wednesday, Heather had a chance to break free from the hospital with the help of a robot.

While using a laptop computer in the comfort and safety of her hospital bed, Heather could control a robot at the St. Louis Science Center allowing her to see, hear and interact with people and exhibits.

"As a science center you want to be as relevant as possible and as accessible as possible," said Christian Greer, Chief Education and Programs Officer at St. Louis Science Center. "I think we do a lot to work on the relevancy, and now with the tool of the robot, we can be even more accessible."