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ElliQ is a friendly looking Amazon Alexa for the elderly

ElliQ is a friendly looking Amazon Alexa for the elderly

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The ElliQ is a new product from Israeli startup Intuition Robotics that aims to help take care of elderly family members, allowing them to continue to live at home even as they grow older.

The company describes ElliQ as an "active aging companion," and it looks like a combination of an Android tablet, a digital assistant like Alexa or Siri, and software designed to help the elderly connect with friends and family. What makes ElliQ unique is the robot component: an attached bobble head-esque animatronic that provides a physical, moving manifestation of the digital assistant. 

ElliQ was designed by Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject group. Béhar commented in an interview with VentureBeat that ElliQ's design is meant to help "develop a unique bond between ElliQ and its owner," through natural movement and body language. Intuition Robotics' announcement video shows off ambitious features for ElliQ: verbal notifications, responses to messages, reminders for medication, integrated video calls, and a connected app for loved ones to monitor activities. It’s unclear how well this will actually work in practice — the video is clearly concept footage rather than an actual demonstration of the device’s practical abilities, but it’s certainly a noble idea.

That said, there's no release date or pricing for ElliQ, just a signup on the Intuition Robotics website to join a waiting list. But whether or not ElliQ makes it to market, it's an interesting change of perspective for gadget makers: instead of simply solving their own problems, it looks like they’re moving to start solving those of their parents, too. Or, from a more cynical perspective, ElliQ could be viewed as a means to offset the perceived “burden” of taking care of an elderly parent from the shoulders of a younger generation to those of a caretaker robot instead.