A new startup called Intuition Robotics just unveiled their stealth product: ElliQ, an AI robot companion created to help aging adults stay active and engaged. Designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject, the robot helps senior citizens stay connected to the world through video chat, online games, and social media – so they can interact with far-away friends and family – and it also encourages them to stay active and reminds them to take medications.
The ElliQ is designed to help people who struggle with loneliness and have a difficult time operating digital technology by themselves. Research has shown that, for seniors, feelings of isolation are linked to declines in physical and mental health, so it’s incredibly important for those who live alone to have a companion to help monitor their health. They frequently have problems understanding modern technology, which can be a major barrier when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family. ElliQ is designed to overcome those challenges and keep seniors at high risk connected with the world around them.
Designer Yves Behar deliberately departed from traditional concepts of what a robot “should” look like, in order to make ElliQ more welcoming and comforting to interact with. The result is a device that looks like something that might step out of a Pixar movie: it’s has friendly, soft, rounded shapes that allow it to convey a sense of emotion through simple gestures and an LED lighting display. The robot’s friendly and approachable appearance should make it a welcome addition in any home.
If you’d like to see the ElliQ, the robot is currently on display at the Design Museum in London, as part of its “New Old: Designing For Our Future Selves” exhibition. Starting in February 2017, Intuition Robotics plans to start a trial by placing it in the homes of older adults in the Bay Area.
Images via Intuition Robotics