Physical distancing goes high-tech: Robot delivers $6-million cheque to Quebec lottery winner
MONTREAL -- Like many big Quebec lottery winners, Guylaine Desjardins received her prize at a Loto-Quebec press conference.
But unlike previous winners, Desjardins was handed her cheque by a peculiar presenter.
Desjardins, of the Laurentians region north of Montreal, on Thursday claimed her $6-million prize from the July 1 6/49 draw at a media event at the Casino Mont-Tremblant.
But because of physical distancing measures in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was live-streamed for viewers and journalists, and Desjardins's cheque was given to her by a presenter who could not contract the coronavirus - a robot named SARA.
SARA was designed by engineering students at Montreal's École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in partnership with Centech, a Quebec company that promotes innovation in Québec.
For the occasion, the life-sized robot was controlled by students from ETS's Walking Machine club.
It's the first time Loto-Quebec has used a robot to hand a prize to a winner, the agency said.
Desjardins, who has played the same combination of numbers for 25 years, bought her winning ticket from a depanneur in Mont-Laurier, which will receive a $60,000 commission (one per cent of the jackpot).
Desjardins said she plans to spoil her two sons, buy a three-wheel motorcycle and travel - once public-health orders allow for it.