Robot companions rolling out in New York, targeting older adult well-being

A tabletop robot designed specifically for older adults is making its way into the homes of 800 New York residents, including those who live in senior living communities.

The New York State Office for the Aging is partnering with Israel-based Intuition Robotics to place ElliQ artificial intelligence-powered robotic companions into independent living and assisted living communities as well as other homes of older adults.

The robot communicates with older adults similarly to the way that Amazon’s Alexa does, but it can empathize with humans and respond to voice and body movements, according to the company. Although other technologies are reactive to commands, ElliiQ proactively suggests activities and initiates conversations, building context through artificial intelligence to inform follow-up conversations.

The smart technology might offer sleep relaxation exercise, physical exercises, in-depth nutrition-related conversations, and medication reminders.

New York case managers will evaluate clients and nominate those who would benefit from ElliQ. Intuition Robotics will work with those individuals to help them install and learn how to use the devices. Those who receive the robotic companions will be able to keep them indefinitely.

“This product does so many things to improve health, combat isolation and improve overall well-being and independence,” NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said in a statement. “The future is here.”…(continued)

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