The state of New York sees robots as a solution to the "loneliness epidemic", and they are a product of the Israeli company Intuition Robotics. It is a robot called ElliQ, which will be deployed in nursing homes and will help them with daily check-ups, help with health goals and physical activities, and allow them to connect with friends and family, and the like.
The program is primarily aimed at combating loneliness, which has been proven to have negative health effects that are more harmful than smoking and obesity. “We are so pleased to partner with Intuition Robotics and make ElliQ available to older adults in New York.
This product does so many things to improve health, combat isolation, and improve overall well-being and independence,” NYSOFA director Greg Olsen said. “Designed with input from older adults, the future of supporting and serving older adults includes technology.
The future is here. Despite misconceptions and generalizations, older adults embrace new technology, especially when they see it is designed by older adults to meet their needs. 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”.
The loneliness epidemic has been exacerbated by social distancing and other measures imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, and the ElliQ robot is more “human” than other “smart technologies”. This robot "proactively suggests activities and initiates conversations" instead of just responding to commands.
The device uses AI technology to make calls based on the data entered. The robot fits the size of a table lamp and features a tablet-shaped screen that displays text, and has a movable white "head" that displays an oscillating circle as it "speaks"
ElliQ monitors basic health parameters such as puss and human blood pressure and enables messaging, calls, and email functions. He can also tell jokes that will come in handy for people who want contact with people. In addition, the robot remembers certain facts that it uses to start a conversation.
During testing, the robot initiated 60 percent of the interactions.
Intuition Robotics director Dor Skuler has big plans for ElliQ
“We’ve long believed that connecting older adults with local communities via ElliQ will add an important element in providing holistic support to older adults aging in place.
This partnership with NYSOFA helps us further that mission through an innovative initiative that we are incredibly proud to be part of,” Intuition Robotics CEO Dor Skuler said. “We’re thrilled to be working with New York State as our first state government partner and believe ElliQ will be able to effectively engage and encourage older adults in New York to be more independent, healthy and happy”.
The mentioned company has invested a lot in the development of robots, 33 patents have been created, and it seems that the work has paid off. The ElliQ robot does not share user data with third parties but may share information about the health status of the person with their family and physicians if permitted.