APPS & BOTS
A new so-called “robot” (although it would probably be more appropriate to call it an app) named ElliQ, developed by Intuition Robotics, an Israeli start-up, aims to target feelings of loneliness and promote physical activation in older people.The device is made up of a main “body” and a detachable screen. It is similar to home assistants like Amazon Echo in that people can interact with a basic A.I. personality and even receive visual feedback.ElliQ was created in a collaborative effort with Swiss designer Yves Béhar.The main function of the device is to act as an interface with all existing media and social media programs, and as such, will be capable of issuing alerts when users post content that the owner is interested in and allowing users to respond using just their voices.One defining feature is that ElliQ can recommend activities of its own accord, such as suggesting taking a walk outside or reminding the user to take her medication.Some have raised security concerns about the device’s ability to obtain and record information from its users, as it needs to learn certain data in order to tailor its service to each individual’s preferences. ElliQ developers have said that the device’s ability to transmit data to a cloud service is only limited to names and other meaningless data.Although obviously no robot can be a substitute for human interaction, the device might work to ease feelings of loneliness and is currently waiting to undergo trials with older adults in the San Francisco area.