Intuition Robotics Releases ElliQ Robot for Sale Five Years After $6M Crowdfunding Campaign
Intuition Robotics has begun commercial sales of the ElliQ digital companion robot for older people living independently. Pitched as a proactive and empathetic eldercare device with a voice assistant and screen connected to an AI-controlled camera and light, ElliQ has spent half a decade in development and testing since Intuition raised $6 million in a crowdfunding campaign in early 2017.
ElliQ At Last
ElliQ The AI inside the device acts as a voice assistant capable of connecting calls and messages to the user’s family and friends, providing news and music, and making suggestions for healthy activities like going for a walk. ElliQ is broadly similar to a smart speaker built by Amazon or Google but is supposed to be more empathetic and proactive, hence the intuition referenced in the company name. The idea is that users will interact with ElliQ more often because of its ability to initiate conversations, learn the user’s interests, and remember and reference earlier conversations. The rollout comes after a final pilot test where several hundred people were given an ElliQ for several months. The study showed people doubling the exercise and other healthy activities from before they had ElliQ. The robot costs $250 to purchase, with a $30 monthly subscription to access all of the content. The installation includes multiple wellness coaches and concierge sessions.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen the devastating effect that loneliness can have on the older adult population. At the same time, we’ve seen ElliQ be incredibly helpful to our beta users and put a smile on their faces. Now, we are happy to make ElliQ widely available to any senior who desires a friendly sidekick who empowers them to maintain their independence and take control of their health, Intuition Robotics CEO Dor Skuler said. “While regular voice-controlled personal assistants are ambient and wait for a human command,” ElliQ proactively initiates conversation and projects empathy to foster collaboration and trust, while employing the AI’s character and multi-modal communication ability in generating unprecedented levels of engagement that successfully affect behavior change.”
Interest in applying voice AI to helping care for aging people has exploded, both for those living alone and in senior living communities. Amazon’s Alexa Care Hub feature is designed to assist in caring for independent older relatives by letting people from one home consensually use their relative’s Alexa-enabled smart device and track their activity, as well as serving as an emergency contact for Alexa to call. The recent Alexa Together tool built on that idea with an optional Remote Assist feature to set and share reminders and shopping lists. It’s similar to eldercare tech developer K4Connect, which integrated its software for assisted living communities with the Amazon Echo Show smart display last year.
Intuition has raised nearly $60 million since its crowdfunding, reflecting that trend as well as research showing how even standard voice assistants can reduce loneliness in older people. Specialized proactive digital assistants like LifePod and the voice-activated companion and pill dispenser Pria. On a more elaborate scale are mobile robots like temi or the cat-faced Mylo, which serve as caretakers while keeping loved ones informed about the user’s health. ElliQ’s combined help for seniors and connection with their loved ones may make it a winner, though the price point will probably influence who actually decides to get one in the near term.