Title Title
Intuition_Robotics_57800_HighRes Robots could be the front line of battling loneliness in the world's ageing population
Summary Summary
  Companies are looking at more innovative ways to combat the issue of loneliness. Could robots help?
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
  <strong>As the world gets older countries and companies are looking at more innovative ways to combat the issue of loneliness, which has been linked to myriad diseases. Could robots help?</strong>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">In the U.S. more than 40 million Americans are 65 or older. By 2050 the 85 and older age group are estimated to reach 19 million people, <a href="https://www.ioaging.org/aging-in-america">according to the Institute of Aging. </a>That is equal to five percent of the country's total </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">population.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">In the UK, almost 20 percent of the country's 66 million people are over 65, according to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/july2017">the Office for National Statistics.</a> With ageing comes the threat of loneliness. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The UK has the highest rates of loneliness in the European Union -- </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, according to an Age UK report. The situation in the U.S and around the world is not much better (<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-fam-aging-isolation-1212-story.html"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>). </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Research from University of California, San Francisco, also <a href="https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/06/12184/loneliness-linked-serious-health-problems-and-death-among-elderly">links this phenomenon with dementia, early mortality and high blood pressure</a>. Brigham Young University </span><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/08/06/loneliness-deadlier-obesity-study-suggests/">research also discovered that lonely people</a> had a 50 per cent increased risk of early death, compared to those with good social connections. (<em>Telegraph</em>)
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">To help combat the problem, Britain has just <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/britain-appoints-loneliness-minister-to-combat-epidemic-2018-1?IR=T">appointed a minister for loneliness</a> to develop a strategy to address the issue<em> (Business Insider)</em>. </span>But there are other, more future-focused solutions, on the horizon.
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Technology can not only improve connectivity, address health, work and care challenges, but also it can help the older population unlock the potential benefits of living better and longer, according to a report by the <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></span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">To this end, an Israeli company called </span><a href="https://www.intuitionrobotics.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Intuition Robotics </span></a>has<span style="font-weight: 400;"> created a robot that will act as an "active-aging companion" -- specifically to address the problem of loneliness in older adults.</span>
  <a href="https://www.intuitionrobotics.com/">Intuition Robotics</a> has come up with a solution: ElliQ the "autonomous active-aging companion."
  ElliQ connects a family with the user by checking social media and making sure they call their children. It's creators call it a connective tool which gives the space and privacy necessary for the user to feel in control.
  CNBC calls it a<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/09/elliq-robot-for-elderly-first-look.html"> "smart voice assistant with a personality."</a> The robot comes with a swiveling head, a removable tablet and cameras. "It can<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> help remind senior citizens of upcoming calendar appointments, show pictures from the family, receive and send messages and more." </span>
  Intuition<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> Robotics say that it's also supposed to serve as a companion for the elderly.</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,” CEO Dor Skuler recently told a gathering of journalists in Israel.
  Its creators say ElliQ is a solution to the digital divide between old and new generations, ideal for families that live in different countries.
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">ElliQ recently won the <a href="https://www.ces.tech/Events-Experiences/Innovation-Awards-Program/Honorees.aspx">CES 2018 Best of Innovation Winner</a> in the Smart Home Category and has already raised <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/08/elliq-has-raised-22-million-for-its-social-robot-aimed-at-older-adults/">$22 million in funding</a> from various companies and venture capital funds (TechCrunch).</span>
  <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> in the U.S,<span style="font-weight: 400;"> but it is expected that by the end of this year that ElliQ will be available in stores (<em>San Francisco Chronicle</em>).</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 (<em>Guardian</em>). </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," Carpenter told <em>WikiTribune</em> by email. "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."</span>
  Skuler said that Institution Robotics does not want to replace face to face interactions. Instead he wants ElliQ to promote such interactions by encouraging meetings with families and friends.
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  Technology, Technology
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  Britain, intuition robotics, Israel, minister of loneliness, robots, startup
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