Loneliness is a major health problem for aging populations worldwide, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, according to AARP’s chief medical officer. Older people living at home reportedly have only five conversations per month. In response to this challenge, CareClever SAS last week announced that its Cutii companion robot for seniors is available.
“Isolation for the elderly in our society is a huge issue in all developed countries,” stated Antoine Bataille, CEO of CareClever. “We are working to combat this with our companion robot, Cutii. Cutii allows people to age in place safely and happily. Doing so will slow down the moral and economic costs of dependency.”
The company, which was founded in 2015, has facilities in Boston in the U.S. and Lille, France. IRCEM, a mutual health insurer of 5 million people, is a strategic investor. CareClever has received recognition including the Eurasanté Silver Surfer prize in 2016, a CES Innovation Award in 2017, and and Japan Meet & Connect in 2019. It has been chosen to be part of MassChallenge Healthtech 2020, placing in the top 6% of the 400 applicants.
Although social robot companies such as Jibo have struggled in the past few years, interest in automated companions for the elderly has not waned, as seen by displays at CES in Las Vegas last week. ElliQ from Intuition Robotics, which is backed by Toyota AI Ventures, is another example of a robot designed to serve the aging-in-place market.
CareClever works with seniors
“After three years of hard work, we are delighted to make Cutii available to seniors,” Bataille said. “Cutii’s primary goal is to keep them connected to [other] people, and in doing so increasing [their] quality of life and boosting longevity.”
“We developed Cutii alongside our users, from the very first day,” he added. “This is definitely not a technology looking for a solution. It was developed in the homes of those who need it most — the elderly. We will add years of happiness to thousands of people around the world.”
The autonomous mobile robot uses artificial intelligence to learn user behaviors and preferences, said CareClever. It also includes privacy safeguards and does not rely on the major technology companies’ services, such as Amazon Alexa. No personal data will ever be sold to marketers or other third parties, said the company.
Cutii offers a calendar of real-world activities such as cooking or yoga classes, museum tours, and quizzes that senior citizens can join from the comfort of their homes.
Caregivers can use their cell phones to communicate with seniors, by video, voice, or message via Cutii, said CareClever. Loved ones can make video calls and can even ask Cutii to move to users in their homes, something a tablet or smart speaker can’t do.
CareClever claimed that Cutii can improve home security by allowing users to ask it to immediately call emergency contact numbers.
In addition, Cutii allows remote patient monitoring (RPM) through tele-health consultations which can be scheduled and conducted from the comfort and familiarity of the person’s home. The robot can remind users of appointments or other events, such as family birthdays, said CareClever.
The robot is available through a subscription model, starting at €90 ($100) per month.