Robotics emerged from stealth debuting ELLI•Q, an artificial
intelligence-based robot companion that keeps older adults active and
engaged. ELLI•Q, whose design intentionally avoids the look and feel of
a traditional robot, seamlessly enables older adults to use a vast array
of technologies, including video chats, online games and social media to
connect with families and friends and overcome the complexity of the
ELLI•Q inspires participation in activities by proactively suggesting
and instantly connecting older adults to digital content such as TED
talks, music or audiobooks; recommending activities in the physical
world like taking a walk after watching television for a prolonged
period of time, keeping appointments and taking medications on time; and
connecting with family through technology like chat bots linked to
The Design Museum in London will showcase a prototype of ELLI•Q as part
of its ‘New Old: Designing for our Future Selves’ exhibition, opening on
12 January 2017. ELLI•Q’s pioneering design and elegant aesthetic is the
product of a collaboration with famed industrial designer Yves Béhar and
his studio, fuseproject.
Using “Natural Communication” such as body language that conveys
emotion, speech interface, sounds, lights and images to express herself,
ELLI•Q is emotive, autonomous, and easily understood. Using machine
learning, she learns the preferences, behaviour and personality of her
owner, and proactively recommends activities based on that history and
recommendations by family.
“Our goal is to leverage a combination of our proprietary technology,
emotive interaction models and gerontology insights with elegant design
to empower older adults to intuitively interact with technology and
easily connect with content and loved ones, and pursue an active
lifestyle,” says Dor Skuler, CEO and Founder of Intuition Robotics. “We
like to think of her as part communication coordinator, part facilitator
of lifelong learning and part coach. She’s easy to talk to, intuitive to
operate and understands her owner.”
According to Age UK, nearly half of all people aged 75 and over live
alone and more than 1 million say they always or often feel lonely (Age
UK, July 2014). Thirty-six percent speak to less than one person a day
and 11% say they spent five days or more a month without seeing anyone.
Older adults living in isolation increasingly rely on technology rather
than face-to-face interaction, yet they often find the technology
confounding. Nearly half of older people (49% of 65+ UK) say that
television or pets are their main form of company (Age UK, July 2014).
Keeping older adults both physically and mentally active has incredible
health and cognitive benefits (National Institute of Health, World
innovative design was created in collaboration with Yves Béhar, founder
and principal designer of the award-winning industrial design firm
fuseproject. It is comprised of two separate elements: ELLI•Q, the
social director, exhibits human characteristics through gestures
animated by movement, speech, sounds and light. An LED lighting display,
along with a wide range of motions are utilized to convey subtle
emotional expressions and give the device a friendly and warm
personification. The second element consists of a separate screen that
functions in a cradle display or in the user’s hand to view content in
the location of their choice.
“The idea of having a robot companion is quite dystopian, especially for
older generations. Through years of research, we were able to develop a
design language and user experience that feels natural, with subtle
expressions to develop a unique bond between ELLI•Q and its owner.
ELLI•Q could never replace human interaction, but it can be an important
motivating factor in keeping older adults healthy and active when living
alone,” says Yves Béhar, CEO and Chief Designer at Fuseproject.
Intuition Robotics will be starting a trial phase in the homes of older
adults in the Bay Area, February 2017.