A friendly robot will help New York seniors feel less lonely


Skuler met Greg Olsen, the acting director of the Office for the Aging, at a 2021 conference on how technology can address the social determinants of health for older adults. They formed the partnership within a few months.

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ElliQ is a voice-activated, rotund robot that sits on dressers or counters and is accompanied by a touchscreen device that users can use to select programs or communicate with the robot. It is designed to be proactive and user-friendly—so friendly, it kept interrupting Crain’s interview with Skuler. ElliQ, he said, has been living in seniors’ homes throughout the country for 100,000 cumulative days, a beta period over which the company has been able to determine that seniors use the product about 20 times per day on average. ElliQ, which launched as a commercial product in March, is available for $30 a month for an annual subscription.

In this New York partnership, Intuition Robotics will measure ElliQ’s success through engagement: tracking how often people use it, how it helps with individuals’ mental or physical health needs, and how it helps improve quality of life over time. Two success metrics are a “loneliness score” and “healthy living days,” a standardized quality-of-life survey that will help determine whether seniors grow healthier the more they use ElliQ. Skuler referenced widely accepted research that shows that social determinants of health have the greatest percentage of influence over health outcomes.

The partnership with the Office for the Aging is Intuition Robotics’ first with a state government. The company hopes to expand its partnerships to more states, Skuler said.



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