Hillel's Tech Corner: ElliQ - helping adults stay active

Intuition Robotics is telling us to calm down and think more like Rocky IV and that cute robot that helped Paulie have a life.

ElliQ (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Company: Intuition Robotics
Founded: February 2016 by Dor Skuler, Itai Mendelsohn, Roy Amir
Employees: 50
Capital Raised: $22m.
Intuition Robotics, a company headquartered in Tel Aviv with an office in San Francisco is the creator of ElliQ™. The team is comprised of roboticists, industrial designers, full stack developers, Android developers, gerontologists, and machine learning experts and ElliQ was co-designed with award-winning designer Yves Béhar, founder and principal designer of Fuseproject.
Why this company is impactful:
When you think of the most exciting trends technology is bringing to our daily lives, you usually think of the recipient of the target audience as the younger “geeky” generation. In reality, maybe the younger generation is not actually the ones who need it most.
ElliQ uses artificial intelligence (of course) to help older adults stay active and engaged. We are talking about a robot, a sidekick that keeps older adults sharp, busy, and connected to friends, family, and the outside world. For instance, if it’s a sunny day, ElliQ might suggest the individual go for a walk. She might suggest that they listen to a new TED Talk or some classical music.
Loneliness and isolation are sad and often natural characteristics that are associated with the aging process. They both present huge issues for older adults with health risks, such as depression and cognitive decline.
The technical barrier has become a major one over the past few years. The younger generation spends time in social platforms and on their mobile devices. The older generation might find those tools to be confusing and overwhelming. ElliQ removes that barrier. For example, when a child or grandchild sends photos, ElliQ might ask the user whether to open and display the photos. ElliQ might also suggest to contact the sender by Skype and then make that call for the user.
To name one more example of what makes ElliQ so engaging, “body language” is incorporated into ElliQ in order to help older adults connect in a more natural way. ElliQ will swivel her head toward a person when they address her and her face will light up when she is speaking.
Additionally, Intuition Robotics addresses many other challenges associated with the aging process. This is possible thanks to recent technological advances in natural language processing. In other words, algorithms are getting smarter and their ability to understand our language, the way we naturally converse, is increasing exponentially.
Intuition Robotics was founded with the declared mission of positively impacting our everyday life through natural, helpful, and exciting experiences powered by technology. While the company’s beginning is aimed at supporting older adults to stay active and engaged, Intuition Robotics aims to redefine the overall relationship between humans and machines. The company is breathing life into machines via cognitive agents and developing new ways for people to engage with technology.
We think of robots and machines because of the movies we have watched, The Terminator may come to mind. Intuition Robotics is telling us to calm down and think more like Rocky IV and that cute robot that helped Paulie have a life.
While robotics and AI have become among the hottest tech trends in the global and local innovation ecosystems, Intuition Robotics is taking a different angle than any company I am aware of. My first sign of this fact is that Intuition Robotics is the only company I know with a full time in house gerontologist on staff.