After the successful launch of its digital companion for older adults earlier this year, Intuition Robotics Ltd. today announced the release of an updated version of ElliQ. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company said it revised ElliQ in response to user demand.
“Seeing ElliQ positively change the lives of so many older adults is a dream come true for our team, who has worked so hard on bringing ElliQ to market,” stated Dor Skuler, co-founder and CEO of Intuition Robotics. “Now, we are entering the next phase of the journey of providing ElliQ at scale and adding value to additional stakeholders such as families, case managers, caregivers, and partners.”
Founded in 2016, Intuition Robotics said its mission is to empower older adults to live happier, healthier, and more independent lives at home. The company has won several awards for its work with ElliQ, including Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and the CES Best of Innovation award.
Investors in Intuition Robotics include Toyota Ventures, Samsung NEXT, iRobot, OurCrowd, and Terra Ventures, as well as venture capital firms in California, Israel, Japan, and Asia.
New hardware, same price for ElliQ
Intuition Robotics said its latest hardware improves on the pilot version. It includes user-interface enhancements such as simpler tablet charging, an upgraded screen, and higher-quality, far-field microphone performance.
The new design does not affect ElliQ's price, Skuler told Robotics 24/7.
“We wanted to continue providing new, elevated experiences for our users, and ElliQ 2.0 is embodiment of our mission,” he said. “The new hardware and software has the same appearance and does not affect the current pricing of $249.99 to enroll, or the $39.99 monthly subscription.”
Digital companion gets smarter, more interactive
The improved ElliQ software is more contextual, allowing for deeper conversations and stronger relationship building, said the company. It now offers more content and experiences.
“The latest advancements in AI and human-machine interaction over the past year has been astonishing, and as a result, we have been able to improve the relationship between the user and ElliQ,” Skuler said. “By creating custom experiences, users get to spend more time with ElliQ, and the feeling of loneliness significantly decreases, improving their overall wellbeing.”
ElliQ continues to offer a range of health, communication, and entertainment features, as well as pain-assessment conversations, health goal setting and tracking, cognitive games, audiobooks, and more. The ElliQ 1.0 and ElliQ 2.0 hardware supports this software, said Intuition Robotics.
“We're mostly creating our own Elevated Experiences,” explained Skuler. “The Elevated Experiences features in ElliQ serves an important role in the relationship between the older adult and ElliQ. Since many of our customers are aging in place and can’t enjoy some of the pleasures they used to enjoy, we decided to bring those experiences to them, through ElliQ.”
“Many of our customers aren’t able to travel abroad—or at all—so we created a virtual café experience, which allows them to virtually visit 18 cities across the world, from Tokyo to Havana to outer space,” he said. “Each experience lasts about 3 minutes and leverages the multi-modality of the robot, a montage of images from the city, [and] a soundscape of local sounds and music.
“In addition, many aren’t able to explore museums as much as they used to so we leveraged the National Gallery of Art’s public-domain archive to bring five art exhibitions to our customers,” Skuler added. “Each exhibition has famous paintings and a discussion about art.”
“Finally, a fun ‘Road Trip’ experience puts our customers behind the wheel of a virtual van as they accompany ElliQ to places like the Grand Canyon or the Smithsonian museum in DC,” he said. “Like the café, these leverage the modalities of the robot to create an immersive experience.”
“With the memories, we're prompting our customers with questions about their childhood (“Talk about a teacher whose legacy you carry with you”), major milestones (“What were you doing during the moon landing?”) as well as other personal anecdotes (“Tell us about your first crush”). These memories are stored in sort of a digital memory album which can be turned into a memoir in the future.
Companion app now available
Intuition Robotics is also launching a companion app for family members, friends, and caregivers such as case managers or home health aides. The app is available for free on the Apple and Google Play stores.
It allows these care circles to conduct video calls via ElliQ and send text, image, and video messages. Caregivers can also remotely set reminders and receive updates on changes in the wellbeing of the ElliQ users.
During beta release of the companion app, Intuition Robotics said it found that over 80% of ElliQ users have at least one family member or caregiver is using the app for engagement with an older adult.
Intuition Robotics reports system's efficacy
While the initial U.S. launch in March of this year targeted consumers, Intuition Robotics said it has seen promising pickup with business-to-business (B2B) customers, healthcare organizations, and senior living communities. It has also found adoption by government agencies such as the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA).
“This past August, we partnered with Ypsilanti, Mich., Meals on Wheels to provide ElliQ to aging adults in the area, similar to our work with NYSOFA,” Skuler said. “One of our main goals is to continue working with government programs and provide ElliQ to those in need across the country, and in the future possibly expand internationally.”
After ElliQ's first six months in the market, the company released its first Impact Report. It found that ElliQ both reduces loneliness for 80% of users and helps 82% stay mentally active. These measurable results are important considering that loneliness has become one of the most prevalent issues among older adults leading to physical and mental decline, said Intuition Robotics.
TIME adds to ElliQ recognition
TIME named ElliQ to its list of the best inventions of 2022 in the Accessibility category for its innovation in helping seniors live happier and healthier with artificial intelligence and technology.
To compile the list of 200 noteworthy inventions, TIME solicited nominations from its editors and correspondents around the world through an online application process. It then evaluated each contender on a number of key factors, including originality, efficacy, ambition, and impact.
“ElliQ being recognized as one of TIME's Best Inventions is a huge honor and a testament to the work we have spent many years on,” Skuler said. “Our users often tell us how much of a positive impact ElliQ has made in their lives, and to be recognized by a top publication shows how important ElliQ is for aging adults to continue living independently and staying healthy.”