New York state officials have provided robots to more than 800 elderly people as part of an effort to combat social isolation.

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) said that it will collaborate with local partners to determine which adults would benefit the most from the service.

The robots are named ‘ElliQ’ and are made by the Israeli company Intuition Robotics. 

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Intuition Robotics CEO Dor Skuler said: “We’re thrilled to be working with New York State as our first state government partner and believe ElliQ will be able to effectively engage and encourage older adults in New York to be more independent, healthy and happy.”

They employ AI technology to assist older adults by suggesting wellness activities and initiating conversations in order to develop a relationship with the gadget.

Loneliness affects senior citizens more than younger people, and the pandemic has exacerbated this vulnerability.

It was reported in October 2020 that more than one-third of Americans suffer from severe loneliness.

The robot sector has also seen a surge this year, with orders increasing by 40 percent in the first quarter of 2022 as firms seek answers to the pandemic-induced labor crunch.

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NYSOFA’s director, Greg Olsen said: “Despite misconceptions and generalizations, older adults embrace new technology, especially when they see it is designed by older adults to meet their needs.”

Olsen said: “For those who experience some form of isolation and wish to age in place, ElliQ is a powerful complement to traditional forms of social interaction and support from professional or family caregivers.”

ElliQ is divided into two parts: a lit-up feature with a microphone and speaker, and a second touchscreen tablet with video communication capabilities.

The gadget, which went on sale in March, proposes physical activities and relaxation techniques, reminds users of medicine, and helps them communicate with family and friends, among other things.

Source: Business Insider

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