AI companion aims to improve life for the elderly
Posted: 12 January 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields
Intuition Robotics, a social robotics startup has launched ElliQ, an AI-powered companion for older adults.
ElliQ aims to keep older adults active and engaged by connecting them with a vast array of technologies, including video chats, online games and social media. The ‘companion’ is the first product from Israel-based Intuition robotics, who formed in 2015 with a mission to “try and improve the life of older adults by leveraging amazing technology together with unique design to build a new type of experience in the home”.
The company came out of stealth yesterday (11/01) to make the announcement. The design of Elli.Q steers away from human-like features, making it more of an approachable digital assistant than a traditional robot. It will be unveiled in the exhibition New Old: Designing for our Future Selves, running from 12 January to 19 February at The Design Museum London and developed in collaboration with fuseproject, run by industrial designer Yves Béhar.
ElliQ was developed with the help of 24 elderly people and their families, who provided ongoing feedback to the development. Other advisors include Professor Guy Hoffman of Cornell University, Professor Gal Kaminka of Bar Ilan University and Don Norman, Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego.
“The idea of having a robot companion is quite dystopian, especially for older generations. 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.” Yves Béhar said in a statement “ElliQ could never replace human interaction, but it can be an important motivating factor in keeping older adults healthy and active when living alone.”
Understanding through “Natural Communication” such as body language that conveys emotion, ElliQ uses speech interface, sounds, lights and images to express itself. The companion also uses machine learning to learn the preferences, behaviour and personality of the owner, and proactively recommends activities based on its learning and based on recommendations by family.
Intuition Robotics have not given details of a release date but you can sign up to their waiting list here.