Title Title
Using robotics to tackle loneliness Using robotics to tackle loneliness
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<span style="font-weight: 400;">The world is getting older. The birth rate is decreasing while life expectancy is increasing. We procreate less and live longer. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The world is getting older. The birth rate is decreasing while life expectancy is increasing. We procreate less and live longer. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In the US more than 40 million Americans are now age 65+ and it is expected by 2050 that the 85+ age group will reach 19 million—24 percent of older adults and five percent of the total </span><a href="https://www.ioaging.org/aging-in-america"><span style="font-weight: 400;">population.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> In 2016 the UK marked its largest population ever: 65.6 million, with 18% aged 65 and over and 2.4% aged 85 and over, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (</span><a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/july2017"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ONS).</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In the US more than 40 million Americans are now age 65+ and it is expected by 2050 that the 85+ age group will reach 19 million—24 percent of older adults and five percent of the total </span><a href="https://www.ioaging.org/aging-in-america"><span style="font-weight: 400;">population.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> In 2016 the UK marked its largest population ever: 65.6 million, with 18% aged 65 and over and 2.4% aged 85 and over, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (</span><a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/july2017"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ONS).</span></a>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">As the world offers better opportunities to enjoy a quality lifestyle there is a desire to enjoy a healthy more rewarding life in the late years. However, the situation of the elderly is highly vulnerable in countries like the UK and the US. Older adults are facing </span><a href="https://www.publicsource.org/how-seniors-in-allegheny-county-combat-social-isolation/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">isolation </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">and loneliness, as reported by </span><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-fam-aging-isolation-1212-story.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the Chicago Tribune in the US</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and according to the ONS, the UK has the highest rates of loneliness in the EU. </span>  
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">A report by <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535187/gs-16-10-future-of-an-ageing-population.pdf">UK Government Office for Science</a> found that the advance in technology will play a key role in the well-being of the senior population. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">A report by <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535187/gs-16-10-future-of-an-ageing-population.pdf">UK Government Office for Science</a> found that the advance in technology will play a key role in the well-being of the senior population. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Israel, a startup called </span><a href="https://www.intuitionrobotics.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Intuition Robotics </span></a>is already working on this. They have<span style="font-weight: 400;"> created a robot that will act as an active-aging companion to address the problem of loneliness in older adults.</span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;">In Israel, a startup called </span><a href="https://www.intuitionrobotics.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Intuition Robotics </span></a>is already working on this. They have<span style="font-weight: 400;"> created a robot that will act as an active-aging companion to address the problem of loneliness in older adults.</span>
<b>Loneliness worse than smoking</b> <b>Loneliness worse than smoking</b>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The situation of the elderly is highly vulnerable in countries like the UK and the US. Older adults are facing </span><a href="https://www.publicsource.org/how-seniors-in-allegheny-county-combat-social-isolation/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">isolation </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">and loneliness, as reported by </span><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-fam-aging-isolation-1212-story.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the Chicago Tribune.</span></a>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In the UK </span><a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/health--wellbeing/rb_june15_lonelines_in_later_life_evidence_review.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9 million older adults feel lonely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, but most of them are ashamed to admit it. While 1.7 percent assured they haven’t had a conversation with friends or family for a month, 3.1 percent didn’t have one in over a week.</span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the ONS, the UK has the highest rates of loneliness in the EU. </span><a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/health--wellbeing/rb_june15_lonelines_in_later_life_evidence_review.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9 million older adults feel lonely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, but most of them are ashamed to admit it. While 1.7 percent assured they haven’t had a conversation with friends or family for a month, 3.1 percent didn’t have one in over a week.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">The <a href="https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/06/12184/loneliness-linked-serious-health-problems-and-death-among-elderly">University of California San Francisco</a> carried out a research were results showed that loneliness can lead to serious health problems and eventually death among older adults. It is <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316">scientifically proved</a> that the state of ‘feeling lonely’ is bad for the health of any human being —almost as harmful for our health as smoking <a href="https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/threat-to-health/">15 cigarettes a day.</a></span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The <a href="https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/06/12184/loneliness-linked-serious-health-problems-and-death-among-elderly">University of California San Francisco</a> carried out a research were results showed that loneliness can lead to serious health problems and eventually death among older adults. The state of <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316">‘feeling lonely’</a> is bad for the health of any human being —almost as harmful as smoking <a href="https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/threat-to-health/">15 cigarettes a day.</a></span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/For-professionals/Research/Age%20UK%20Evidence%20Review%20on%20Loneliness%20July%202014.pdf?dtrk=true">Researchers in Chicago</a> also found that it may lead to cardiovascular diseases, stress and depression and, in older adults, it is more likely they start developing dementia. </span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/For-professionals/Research/Age%20UK%20Evidence%20Review%20on%20Loneliness%20July%202014.pdf?dtrk=true">Researchers in Chicago</a> also found that it may lead to cardiovascular diseases, stress and depression and, in older adults, it is more likely they start developing dementia.</span>
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<strong>Israel brings a solution</strong> <strong>Israel brings a solution</strong>
Known as the startup nation, health is one of the areas Israelis devote themselves entirely, looking for innovative solutions through technology to deal with diseases, but overall to improve human everyday lives. Known as the startup nation, health is one of the areas Israelis devote themselves entirely, looking for innovative solutions through technology to deal with diseases, but overall to improve human everyday lives.
Israel has a population of 8.5 million, were 11% are older adults. The Central Bureau of Statistics predicts that in 2035 the elderly population of Israel will increase to 1.66 million. Furthermore, 36% of elderly Israelis reported feeling lonely. Israel has a population of 8.5 million, were 11% are older adults. The Central Bureau of Statistics predicts that in 2035 the elderly population of Israel will increase to 1.66 million. Furthermore, 36% of elderly Israelis reported feeling lonely.
An Israeli startup, called Intuition Robotics has come up with a solution to tackle the problem. ElliQ, an ‘autonomous active-aging companion’. An Israeli startup, called Intuition Robotics has come up with a solution to tackle the problem. ElliQ, an ‘autonomous active-aging companion’.
ElliQ connects the family with the older adult by checking social media and making sure they call their children. It is a connective tool, not invasive, and gives the space and privacy necessary to the older adult to feel in control. It is there to be a companion foremost, as stated by the startup. ElliQ connects the family with the older adult by checking social media and making sure they call their children. It is a connective tool, not invasive, and gives the space and privacy necessary to the older adult to feel in control. It is there to be a companion foremost, as stated by the startup.
The creators introduce ElliQ as a solution to the digital divide between the older and new generations, ideal for families that live in different countries. She sees and listens as a platform and learns and adapts to the person’s needs. Although, it’s not a safety monitoring program it can be programmed for unusual behaviour. In a case like this, ElliQ will call an emergency number, but it has to be programmed by the older adult beforehand, as confirmed by Dor Skuler CEO of Intuition Robotics.  The creators introduce ElliQ as a solution to the digital divide between the older and new generations, ideal for families that live in different countries. Although, it’s not a safety monitoring program it can be programmed for unusual behaviour. In a case like this, ElliQ will call an emergency number, but it has to be programmed by the older adult beforehand, as confirmed by Dor Skuler CEO of Intuition Robotics.
“One of the main goals when building the software was to respect the dignity of the older adult that sometimes can feel like a burden,” said Skuler <strong>(I didnt directly speak to him but attended a talk he did for a bunch of journalists last year that's why I know all these part but I don't have exact quotes). </strong>  
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Intuition Robotics has recently won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Winner in the Smart Home Category for ElliQ. In July last year the startup received raised $14 million in a stage funding round led by the Toyota Research as reported by </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-tech-robotics/toyota-leads-14-million-funding-round-for-israels-intuition-robotics-idUSKBN19W0ZQ"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reuters. </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">The robot is still</span><a href="http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Smart-home-tech-might-help-older-adults-live-12410863.php?utm_campaign=twitter-premium&amp;utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&amp;utm_medium=social"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">under testing</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> but it is expected that by the end of this year ElliQ will be available in stores, just like Amazon's Alexa. </span>  
  “One of the main goals when building the software was to respect the dignity of the older adult that sometimes can feel like a burden,” said Skuler
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Intuition Robotics has recently won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Winner in the Smart Home Category for ElliQ. In July last year the startup received raised $14 million in a stage funding round led by the Toyota Research as reported by </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-tech-robotics/toyota-leads-14-million-funding-round-for-israels-intuition-robotics-idUSKBN19W0ZQ"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reuters. </span></a>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The robot is still</span><a href="http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Smart-home-tech-might-help-older-adults-live-12410863.php?utm_campaign=twitter-premium&amp;utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&amp;utm_medium=social"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">under testing</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> but it is expected that by the end of this year ElliQ will be available in stores, just like Amazon's Alexa.</span>
  <strong>FYI: I didnt directly speak to him but attended a talk in Israel he did for a bunch of journalists last year that's why I know all these part but I don't have exact quotes to like take the chance to literally quote him. </strong> <strong>Not sure how do you want me to reference it then. I know you guys are obssessive about referencing. but if I am reporting it is because I have done the research. </strong>
<strong>Connectors not replacements</strong> <strong>Connectors not replacements</strong>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers from Northwestern University, Cornell University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya in Israel did a </span><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563216303910"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to see if robots could comfort people in times of emotional need. The research found they can be as effective as a human listener.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Julie Carpenter, a researcher from Washington University, studies interaction with emerging technologies, with a special focus on robots. She compares ElliQ with<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/08/paro-robot-seal-dementia-patients-nhs-japan"> Paro</a>, a robot that has been used as a therapy tool with all sort of patients, including those with Dementia. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“Paro and robots like it are not meant to replace people or interaction with people, but to assist people in therapeutic ways. There are not substitutes for other therapies or care by people, but something to be used as one means of therapy or amusement/comfort in conjunction with other things, like regular human interaction. In my opinion, robots like Paro have been demonstrated to bring comfort, joy, and amusement for people in otherwise challenging situations,” she said <strong>(I interviewed her by email, do i neccesarily need to put told wikitribune? ).</strong></span>
The creators of ElliQ are clear that the do not want to replace face to face interactions and they are confident that this will be an added value to the life of older adults, as it looks to promote human to human interactions by bringing attention to elements that encourage meetings with both their families and friends, as Skuler said.  The creators of ElliQ are certain that they do not want to replace face to face interactions. They are confident that ElliQ is  will be an added value to the life of older adults, as it looks to promote human to human interactions by bringing attention to elements that encourage meetings with both their families and friends, as Skuler said.
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Julie Carpenter, a researcher from Washington University, studies interaction with emerging technologies, with a special focus on robots. She compares ElliQ with Paro, a robot that has been used as a therapy tool with all sort of patients, including those with Dementia. </span>  
<span style="font-weight: 400;">“Paro and robots like it are not meant to replace people or interaction with people, but to assist people in therapeutic ways. There are not substitutes for other therapies or care by people, but something to be used as one means of therapy or amusement/comfort in conjunction with other things, like regular human interaction. In my opinion, robots like Paro have been demonstrated to bring comfort, joy, and amusement for people in otherwise challenging situations,” she said <strong>(I interviewed her by email, do i need t put told wikitribune? isn't it obvious?).</strong></span>   
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