It's an unfortunate fact that many seniors end up becoming socially isolated and mentally unstimulated. Israel-based tech firm Intuition Robotics has set out to address that problem, with its artificially-intelligent ElliQ system. The technology was on display this week at CES 2019.
Sort of like a proactive Alexa for old people, ElliQ consists of three main parts.
There's a base unit that incorporates a microphone array, speaker and magnetic charging dock; a dual-camera-equipped tablet that snaps into that dock; and the actual ElliQ unit itself – the latter is a sort of robotic "head" that moves around as the system converses with the user via its synthetic voice and speech recognition system, simulating the manner in which a person might move their head while talking. It has a camera of its own, along with an LED-ring "face."
Utilizing its AI system, cameras and mics, ElliQ is reportedly capable of reading the room, seeing/hearing if its user is talking to someone, watching TV, or is otherwise occupied. If it determines that they're sitting idle, it will proceed to verbally engage them – this could consist of suggesting they get some exercise, telling them jokes or trivia, offering to play music which it's learned that they like, or playing them a TED Talk video on a subject in which they're interested.
It can also be used to schedule tasks and set reminders, such as telling users that they need to take their medication or get a drink of water – family members can remotely set these for the user, via an accompanying app. If ElliQ determines that the user doesn't want to be bothered (such as if they've got guests over), those reminders will simply be flashed on the tablet screen.
That tablet can additionally be used to communicate with family and friends via text messages, voice and/or video calls, and the sharing of photos or videos. ElliQ will let users know when such messages arrive, reading text aloud and describing the content of any images, then allowing the user to respond with a voice message.
US customers can now preorder an ElliQ of their own, via the first link below. It will be priced at US$1,499, and require a high-speed Wi-Fi internet connection along with a monthly subscription fee of $35 to $50 (depending on the level of service).
You can see ElliQ in action, in the following video.
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