In the News
As populations age worldwide, older people are often isolated because of health and mobility problems and difficulty with using new technologies.
A robot named ElliQ aims to change that.
Intuition Robotics today emerged from “stealth mode” and announced ElliQ, which is designed to help older adults stay socially and physically active.
Like some social robots, ElliQ uses a combination of movements and voice interactions to communicate with end users. However, “her” artificial intelligence capabilities and design are uniquely designed to serve the elderly, according to Dor Skuler, founder and CEO of Intuition Robotics.
- Aging populations, particularly in East Asia, Europe, and North America, face mental and physical health problems resulting from isolation.
- Intuition Robotics plans to relieve this isolation with ElliQ. The social robot incorporates machine learning to be a companion and is designed to be easy for the elderly to use.
- Not only is ElliQ intended to be a companion and coach for older adults, but “she” could also help them stay connected with loved ones and the wider world.
Robots to fight loneliness
A study by the University of California, San Francisco, found that 43 percent of older adults reported feeling lonely, and 1 in 2 women aged 75 and over live alone. Isolation can lead to other health problems, including Alzheimer’s.
At the same time, 77 percent of seniors said they need help using new technologies, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Our goal is to leverage a combination of our proprietary technology, emotive interaction models, and gerontology insights with elegant design to empower older adults to intuitively interact with technology, easily connect with content and loved ones, and pursue an active lifestyle,” Skuler said. “We like to think of her as part communication coordinator, part facilitator of lifelong learning, and part coach.”
Thanks to machine learning, ElliQ can understand the user’s personality, preferences, and habits. The robot can then suggest going for a walk, watching a TED talk, or contacting family members through Facebook Messenger.
“Our robot is proactive rather than reactive — she observes and gives reminders, plays music, and shows pictures,” Skuler told Robotics Business Review. “Siri, Alexa, and others are reactive. The algorithms are an order of magnitude more complex to make robots proactive.”
ElliQ follows design philosophy
Many social robots, including many seen at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, are humanoid to facilitate communications. By contrast, ElliQ...