This Age-Tech startup created ElliQ, a social robot that was developed with and for older adults


This morning I went to
visit Intuition Robotics, my old team, in their Ramat
Gan headquarters (laughs). Goof used to come with
me to work everyday, it was super fun for the both of us. I had a great time making this video, it was super fun to see everyone again. For those of you who don’t know, Intuition Robotics is a
start-up behind ElliQ, and I’m gonna let Dor,
the co-founder and CEO, tell you all about it. Dor, tell us a little
bit about the company. Sure, welcome back Keren. For those of you that don’t know, Keren was one of our first employees, and we were really proud her new career, and really bummed that she left us. So welcome to Intuition Robotics, as some of you might know, we are a company that created
a product called ElliQ, with a goal of helping older adults reduce loneliness and social isolation, and help them thrive in
this period of their life. We do that through our
digital companion technology, which allows agents, for the
first time, to be proactive based on context and based on goals, and to initiate interactions
with older adults. ElliQ just started talking. (robot quietly speaking) That’s her being proactive, right? Exactly. So Dor, what stage is the company at? So the company is three
years and three quarters old, we’re still measuring
months, we’re counting months at this stage of the company. We are 74 people, with
teams in the United States, the main site here in Israel,
and also one in Greece. And the product is now, actually dozens of people already have it, as we’re preparing for the
first commercial launch. We’re also doing some quite
amazing academic research, CABHI in Canada, Baycrest, UCSF, and we did a large employment
in Florida, with SoFIA. So basically what you’re
seeing is the company preparing towards making first
early commercialization by doing a lot of, on one
side, clinical trials, and on the other side,
getting units in the hands of more people, so we can continue to
fine-tune the experience, and build new skills
we need to have around deployment, delivery,
upgradability, and support. – [Keren] Perfect, can
you take us on a tour around the office? Yeah, absolutely. We just moved here over the summer, so I’d love for you to be
the first people to see our new digs. It’s beautiful, check it out. So this is where we
were sitting a second ago. We call this “the Grandparents Room”, and as you can see, it’s
positioned to help us do testing in simulating a live environment. We have here usually some candies, we have vintage furniture, we have grandchildren
pictures on the walls, a working Atari, and of course ElliQ, which is used for testing
and demonstrations. But come, let me show you around. So this is our office here.
(background people speaking) And see little meeting rooms
with our two co-founders, here’s Asi at transdevelopment for ElliQ. As you can see, everybody
have their own unit, which is used for testing
and content creation. Then we have rooms that
we use for testing, which are soundproof so it doesn’t disturb
the rest of the people, or at nighttime, automatic testing, which you might ask, how
do you do automatic testing for a robot? Well essentially a
speaker replays sentences and then the system acts and cameras capture the interaction. All right, in addition to conference rooms and electronic labs, this is our kitchen area. Here you can see the team
in little hack-a-thon. There are more ElliQs than
people in this room right now. This is our prototype wall. So this is our very first prototype that we did very early on in the company. And then it started being more like this, which starts kind of maybe
reminding you of ElliQ, but at the same time people like Keren started working with older
adults, even pre-product, on a commercial robotic arm with some kind of an avatar
here which remotely controls through a Wizard of Oz interface, to just see how older adults react when a system starts talking
to them, proactively. And that informed a lot of our learning, more prototypes until finally we came up with the first design. These are the first looks
like, work like units that actually have all the
electronics hidden inside. But that’s how we got started. So here you can see the
team working on some changes to the physical side of the hardware. [Keren] Are we allowed to show this? Sure. I think it’s secret.
(together laughing) It’s all secret. 3D printing, and a lot of
testing of new components and things that fail in the factory to understand why and how
we can improve our process. [Keren] Hi, Tai Tai.
Hello. That’s all we have for today. For more age tech-related content visit theGerontechnologist.com. See you next time.

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