ElliQ: Robotic Companion Helping the Elderly Remain Active and Engaged

As individuals begin to age they often find that their bodies and their minds begin to break down in a natural and degenerative manner. Many of the elderly around the world have for a long time suffered the effects of aging in ways that are detrimental to any continued mental and physical maintenance. Any individual that does not keep active tends to suffer more from physical and mental ailments that can be avoided by constant interaction and stimulation designed to keep the mind and body active and alert.

Sadly family members are not always on hand for their elders to engage them in stimulating activities that can help them to remain an active part of the world around them. In some cases this is alleviated by paying for increasingly expensive care homes, where an individual can be well-cared for but at a price is increasingly stressful for their family. The solution of course is for the individual to find a way to stimulate themselves and develop a routine that keeps them up and moving without dissolving into a sedentary lifestyle. This is just the reason why Intuition Robotics came up with the ELLI*Q.

What is the ELLI*Q?

The idea and design for ELLI*Q was brought forth by the fusionproject firm, which is operated by Yves Behar. Developing the product however fell to a fairly new Israeli-based company known as Intuition Robotics, the ELLI*Q is essentially a device that acts in the same manner as an Alexa, tablet, and digital assistant all in one. It is classified as an “active aging companion” as it is designed to inspire increased participation by making suggestions to its user to connect with other adults their age. It will even connect them to subject material and content that they might enjoy based on their preferences, and can even make suggestions concerning activities that would allow the user to experience the physical world in a pleasing and reasonable manner. A good example of this is to make a suggestion to take a walk after watching a favorite television program.

Thanks to its highly efficient programming it can even keep track of important appointments and insure that its user keep to their medication schedule, if one exists. ELLI*Q can also be programmed to make the suggestion contact family if and when needed through Facebook and other apps. It’s bobble headed feature acts as a sort of personal assistant and can use natural communication, such as movements suggestive of body language, that can convey emotion, sounds, speech interface, and even lights and images to express herself.

ELLI*Q is a highly emotive and autonomous robotic interface and is easy to understand. She can learn the preferences, behavior patterns, and even the unique personality of her owner. Through this she can even recommend certain activities based solely upon her learning and through recommendations made by an individual’s family. She also comes with the ability to monitor the overall wellness and environment of the home in which she is placed.

Many elderly citizens often suffer from the unfortunate and unintentional neglect that their children and family foist upon them when placing them into homes. Even if a nursing or assisted living home is particularly nice, it is still up to the individual to interact with those around them. The desire to sit and do nothing is unfortunately a side effect of aging that manages to grip everyone eventually, but with the ELLI*Q the possibility of never having to worry over if someone will remind them to take their pill, or to get up and move around, is a welcome relief to many individuals.

ELLI*Q can affect the life and habits of an individual simply by speaking an inspiring word or responding to the individual’s needs at the right moment, as it can learn from its owner during their time together. While it is no real replacement for overall human contact, ELLI*Q can be a positive influence upon the life of an elderly individual that allows them to maintain healthy and uplifting interactions with those around them.

The applications for ELLI*Q could even go beyond the single individual, as this system could be a boon to elderly married couples as well who at times need assistance in getting out and experiencing the world. ELLI*Q is also useful in that she could remember important dates, times, and help with scheduling and other such functions if properly programmed. There are few limits that programming cannot overcome and ELLI*Q is about as close a personal assistance that anyone could ever ask for.

The team of designers that are responsible for bringing ELLI*Q to “life” are as diverse in their interests and skills as can be, but the co-founders of Intuition Robotics, Dor Skuler and Itai Mendelsohn, were able to rally their team and bring about Yves Barha’s design in such impressive fashion that they might be on the verge of revolutionizing this type of technology.

At this time however ELLI*Q is not available on the market, and the price is not yet set. There is little doubt that ELLI*Q will not be a cheap system initially, but there is equally little doubt that the system will pay for itself quite easily through its ease of use and the many benefits it can offer. With ELLI*Q as an in-home assistant and constant source of motivation, an elderly citizen could life a much longer and fulfilling life that would allow them to remain active and more engaged with the world around them.

Conclusion

Some people might look at ELLI*Q as just another technological fad that might come and go within a month or less, but the system looks to be truly innovative as well as essential to those who might need it. A personal assistant that can remind one of certain dates, times, and gauge mood and behavior patterns based on her time spent with the owner could be an invaluable tool that could help an individual to experience a new zest for life that would be highly beneficial.

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