Beltone Blog

Can Robots Solve the Problem of Loneliness?

When it comes to the older generation, it may be difficult to adapt to the newest forms of technology.  It isn’t easy to change when years have been spent with familiarity.   Recent Pew Research shows, however, the older generation's movement into digital life continues to deepen. This is one of the reasons they have become a target market for the growing robotics industry.

Posted 07-27-2017 by Nick Eugenis

From various tech manufacturers, to auto manufacturers and startups, these companies are examining the science behind how robots can help assist the older generation in their homes.  For those living alone, one of the largest issues to battle is that of being isolated and facing loneliness.

Intuition Robotics, an Israel-based startup that predominantly makes robots, had recently announced it raised $14 million from a variety of investors to invest in home robots.  More specifically, the funding will go towards developing a social companion robot they have named “ElliQ”.

ElliQ is designed small enough to be put on a table and can communicate with individuals and provide specific, programmed reminders. The idea was born by Intuition Robotics’ CEO Dor Skuler.  He noticed that people communicate more often through forms of digital such as e-mail, and sending texts and photos.

The robot is also designed to reduce caregiver stress. It can give reminders about upcoming doctor's appointments. ElliQ works to keep older adults engaged and active. It will make personalized suggestions such as going for walks, or listening to music.
There were initial ideas on how the robot responds to the owner.  One idea was that the robot would be mobile enough to actually follow the owner around the home, but Skuler decided that particular concept was a bit too “strange”.

Intuition Robotics isn’t the only company testing out this idea.  Companies like Blue Frog Robotics and Hasbro have come up with concepts of helpful robots that come in the appearance of pets. Having a robot in the home would be an incredible leap into the future, but how receptive will those be who already question new technology?