President of Rwanda gives €50,000 for Joanne’s robot

Rwandan president Paul Kagame has pledged €50,000 for Joanne O’Riordan’s personal robot under construction in Trinity College Dublin.

President of Rwanda gives €50,000 for Joanne’s  robot

In what is likely to be more good news for Ms O’Riordan, who was born without arms or legs, it is believed that telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien is also doing some fundraising for the project.

Mr Kagame was in Dublin over the weekend for the meeting of the UN Broadband Commission.

Ms O’Riordan made a worldwide plea at a UN conference two years ago for engineers to construct a robot that could act as a personal assistant for her.

The School of Engineering at Trinity took up the challenge. The project received a huge boost last year when the International Telecommunications Union donated €50,000.

Last Friday, the outline of Ms O’Riordan’s robot was unveiled. His name is Robbie and he is 4ft 7in. Still in the early stages of development, the Trinity team will need significant amounts of extra funding to make Robbie fit for purpose.

* Read Joanne's weekly Irish Examiner column here

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