The ElliQ Robot Helps Elderly Citizens Live a More Fulfilling Life
Do you remember that seldom talked about film Robot & Frank from a couple of years ago? The one where James Marsden gets his elderly dad a robot butler to make sure he is taken care of in his old age? If not it’s worth the watch.
Intuition Robotics‘ ElliQ autonomous active aging companion is kind of like that minus the part where the robot helps Frank Langella commit a jewelry heist to stick it to those hoighty-toighty “young folks.”
The real idea behind the ElliQ robot is, of course, to help older adults live a more fulfilling life by keeping them engaged, active, and connected to the outside world. All arguments of robot genders aside, she inspires social connectedness and living a healthier lifestyle by recommending walks and other activities to reduce idleness and loneliness.
She also makes for an excellent caregiver by sharing reminders about upcoming appointments and when to take prescribed medications.
“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 and easily connect with content and loved ones and pursue an active lifestyle,” explained Dor Skuler, CEO and founder of Intuition Robotics. “We like to think of her as part communication coordinator, part facilitator of lifelong learning and part coach. She’s easy to talk to, intuitive to operate, and understands her owner.”
The complete solution consists of an interactive robot (ElliQ), an animatronic manifestation of the AI-driven robotic companion, and an accompanying tablet of sorts that both sit atop a dedicated stand. Whether it’s seamlessly accessing content from family members via social media or engaging an impromptu video chat via voice commands, ElliQ helps the elderly overcome the complexities of aging in a digital world.
Designed by Yves Béhar, ElliQ uses “natural communication” methods—including a variety of gestures that can show happiness or confusion—to form a more adaptive connection with older adults. Although still only in the prototype stage, she is emotive enough to express herself through gesture, lights, sounds and images. Additionally, ElliQ utilizes machine learning to learn the behavior and personality of her owner as well as their personal preferences.
“The idea of having a robot companion is quite dystopian, especially for older generations,” says Béhar. “Through years of research, we were able to develop a design language and user experience that feels natural, with subtle expressions to develop a unique bond between ElliQ and its owner. ElliQ could never replace human interaction, but it can be an important motivating factor in keeping older adults healthy and active when living alone.”
ElliQ is also equipped with wellness and environmental monitoring features.
Although there is no set release date or pricing information (just a waiting list), Intuition Robotics recently announced a capital raise of $6 million from strategic investor iRobot and the equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd—among other sources. With this new funding, the Jerusalem-based robotics company says it plans on starting trials in San Francisco and Israel to refine ElliQ.
“Intuition Robotics’ ElliQ is an exciting advancement in cognitive computing and human-robot interaction,” said Hanns Anders, Director at iRobot Ventures. “iRobot has been a longtime proponent of the development of robotics technologies to support the world’s aging population. The advances being made by Intuition Robotics are critically important to keeping this important population active and engaged.”