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Intuition Robotics has partnered with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) to put ElliQ, a robot designed to help older adults gain independence, in the homes of more than 800 older adults.
ElliQ is a robotic companion designed specifically for aging adults that suffer from loneliness or social isolation. Its technology combines psychology, behavioral sciences and advanced cognitive artificial intelligence capabilities to provide proactive care.
“ElliQ was really initially designed to help with companionship and loneliness,” Grace Andruszkiewicz, the director of marketing at Intuition Robotics, said. “But along the way, a lot of other sort of helpful features have been built into the product. Lots of communication features to help people stay connected to their loved ones, and health and wellness, so they can achieve their goals.”
According to Intuition, ElliQ can proactively suggest activities or start conversations. The more users interact with ElliQ, the more the robot is able to build context and inform follow-up conversations, resulting in a more natural relationship than with other robotic companions.
“Throughout the day, she’ll sort of chime in, and this is really where one of the key differentiators is. Where a lot of other voice activated devices require the individual to prompt the device using a call word, ElliQ can start to understand when might be a good time to interact and engage with the individual,” Andruszkiewicz said.
On average, users interact with ElliQ 20 times a day. ElliQ users meet with nurses on Intuition Robotics’ team that will help users set goals so the robot knows how to help each user. The robot can remind users to take health measurements, like their blood pressure, and medications.
Intuition Robotics’ partnership with SilverSneakers, a fitness and wellness program geared towards seniors, means ElliQ is equipped with a library of fitness videos to help users stay active.
The company’s partnership with NYSOFA comes just months after the robot made its commercial debut. Intuition Robotics doesn’t have a strict timeline for the program, but initially each county in the state will be able to opt into the program. To qualify for the program, users must be residents of the state of New York and speak English, as ElliQ doesn’t know any other languages yet.
“Despite misconceptions and generalizations, older adults embrace new technology, especially when they see it is designed by older adults to meet their needs,” Greg Olsen, director of NYSOFA, said. “For those who experience some form of isolation and wish to age in place, ElliQ is a powerful complement to traditional forms of social interaction and support from professional or family caregivers.”
Intuition Robotics is continuing to develop ElliQ with feedback from users. The company is currently working on updating its caregiving facing application, to allow caregivers to more easily interact with their family members with ElliQ, according to Andruszkiewicz.