With all of today’s advancements in technology, there is a large portion of the population often neglected in the design of emerging innovations – the aging population. And yet, their needs are great: staying mentally and physically active, and avoiding loneliness and depression, can be a major challenge for older adults living alone. This is what sparked Intuition Robotics, an AI and robotics company based in Israel, to do a significant amount of research on tech and aging – to determine how we can utilize new technology to support this rapidly growing demographic.
Opening today at the Design Museum of London is our concept for an effective home companion robot for aging adults: ElliQ. Unlike other robots coming to market, ElliQ (loosely named for the Norse Goddess of Old Age) is designed specifically to learn about you and your personal goals and needs, in order to motivate you to stay active. Whether it’s reminding you to take walks (if the weather is nice), read or watch a TED Talk, or inviting your family to Skype in and say hello, ElliQ is a friendly and unobtrusive tool designed with your individual needs in mind.
A strong exercise in multidisciplinary design, we were able to askew the typical robot vernacular and make ElliQ more akin to a beautiful tabletop object, with a separated screen and ‘companion’ structure – a unique form factor designed specifically to foster comfort and familiarity. By leaving a screen off of the entity itself, we are able to elegantly balance the fine line between an object and a robot, with subtle gestures to bring it to life in a relatable (and lovable) manner.