The State of New York will distribute robot companions to the homes of more than 800 older adults. The robots will not be able to help with physical tasks, but will function as more proactive versions of digital assistants — engaging users in small talk, helping contact loved ones, and keeping track of health goals like exercise and medication.
The effort is being organized by the New York State Office for the Aging. NYSOFA director Greg Olsen says the robot, named ElliQ and built by Israeli firm Intuition Robotics, "is a proactive tool, remembers the interactions with the individual, focuses on health and wellness, stress reduction, sleep, hydration, et cetera. It focuses on what matters to individuals: memories, life validation, interactions with friends and families, and promotes overall good health and well being."
ElliQ consists of two parts attached to a single base. The first part is a lamp-like "face" with microphone and speakers, that lights up and swivels to face people it's talking to. The second is a touchscreen tablet, used to display pictures, additional information, and conduct video calls.
Published research suggests social robots "appear to have the potential to improve the well-being of older adults," and recommends wider trials.
From The Verge
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