Current Recruiting

The Robots Project

What is this project about?

Cancer treatments can stop young people from going to school or make them miss important family events due to hospital visits or recovery at home. We would like to see how telepresence robots (Teleports) can be used to help young people keep in touch with friends and family during cancer treatment. To begin this investigation, we will hold focus groups with young people receiving cancer treatment in high school and their families, and interviews and focus groups with secondary school teachers and oncology staff.

Young people with cancer often miss school or stay away from their families because of their cancer treatments. This can be particularly distressing for some young people who may not see friends for some time. Without being able to connect with peers during this time, the return to school can be more difficult. It can also be hard being away from your family and missing the comfort and normality of home.

Canteen is running a project to understand how a ‘Robot’ could be used by young cancer patients during their treatment to help them keep in touch with family and friends. We will be giving ‘Robots’ to some young people in New South Wales and Victoria (aged 12-18) to use. Before we do this we want to know more from young people with cancer, their families, secondary teachers and oncology staff about the things they think might help or stop the teleport from working in secondary schools and family homes.

Maintaining relationships with family and peers is very important to young adults with cancer as it can represent ‘normality’ in the face of an abnormal and distressing life event. Currently, there are no wide-ranging interventions available for young people undergoing cancer treatment to connect to their schools and homes and Canteen hope to offer an option in the form of the Teleport. As the Teleport has not been used in this way before, it is important we conduct these focus groups and interviews to understand how the Teleport could work in home and school settings.

  • Young people aged 12-25 who receive/d cancer treatment while in secondary school and their families
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Oncology staff who work with young people

Focus groups (group discussions) will be held for young people and their families. The Canteen research team will ask questions about what it is/was like to miss school or time with family because of cancer treatment. The family will then have an opportunity to use the Teleport together and discuss how they would use it to keep in touch while the young person is in hospital and how the young person would use it to keep connected to their school and peers. Lunch will be provided and the young people will receive a voucher for taking part. Teachers will also have the opportunity to take part in a focus group and will likewise be able to use the Teleport and assess how it works before being asked questions.

If taking part in an interview, the teachers and oncology staff will be asked to watch a short video of the Teleport and then answer questions about how they think it could work to help young people with cancer connect to their schools and homes whilst receiving cancer treatment.

Please contact the project research team!

RESP: Email ( Tel (+02 1800 234007)

This study has been approved by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee.
To contact them, call +61 2 8627 8177 or email and quote ref no.: 2017/770

If you have any questions about this project, please contact the research team or 1800 234 007