Robot buddies for the NY elderly

By Scoop
May 27, 2022 · less than 3 min read

The NYSOFA trials a new way of tackling social isolation. 

Fighting isolation, one robot at a time  

Many older adults feel lonely and isolated. This is particularly concerning, given that studies have linked these feelings to a higher risk of developing health problems. In New York, the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is stepping in to tackle this growing loneliness epidemic. 

800 New York residents will soon be introduced to ElliQ (from Intuition Robotics), an electronic roommate and care companion, as part of a new initiative. ElliQ is a digital buddy specifically designed to provide stimulation, make small talk and encourage daily activities. They can do everything from reading messages and displaying photos to taking you through a guided workout. You thought home workouts were over? Think again. 

The connection is electric  

The NYSOFA reports that users of ElliQ have an average of 20 interactions with the robot companion each day. It’s a product designed to foster independence while making support easily accessible. With everything from trivia to conversation available via ElliQ, the NYSOFA hopes it’ll go a long way in the fight against loneliness amongst the elderly. 

New York State believes in ElliQ and has financially backed the project, bolstering NYSOFA initiatives with $2.9 million in funding, including a $700,000 allocation for ElliQ.  

So how much will your own little ElliQ set you back? You’ll need to cover a $250 setup fee, followed by a subscription fee of $40 a month. Given that this digital companion is hugely expensive to manufacture and assemble, Intuition Robotics feels that offering it to customers via a subscription payment platform equals better affordability and accessibility for all. Always wanted your own Wall-E? We’ve got great news for you. 

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