The ElliQ eldercare robot gets a hardware upgrade, generative AI for improved conversations | TechCrunch
In some parts of the world (read: Japan, primarily), eldercare has been an important robotics focus for decades. In recent years, other markets have begun exploring the space. Labrador Robotics’ home assistive system is a good example here in the States. In Tel Aviv, meanwhile, Intuition Robotics has been promoting a “companion” robot since 2016 or so.
ElliQ finally hit the market last March, and has found some success through partnerships with assistive care facilities. The little robot’s debut was clearly strong enough to bring investors back, as Intuition raised $25 million this summer. That latest round, led by Toyota’s Woven Capital growth funding, brought the startup’s total raise up to $83 million.
Much of that new capital has gone into ElliQ 3. The latest version of the robot features design tweaks, more powerful hardware and — of course — generative AI integration. That last bit seems to be a given for anything announced at this week’s CES event in Las Vegas.
ElliQ’s design is an Yves Behar joint effort. His studio is continuing to play a role in the refinement of this latest generation. The footprint is around one-third smaller than its predecessor and it weighs 1.3 pounds less. Memory has been increased, and the on-board MediaTek octa-core processor has been updated. Hardware updates appear primarily focused on improving ease-of-use and the ability to scale up manufacturing.
Generative AI is, of course, the big buzz phrase of CES — and, most likely, the year. Here the company says it’s leveraging LLMs to improve the system’s conversational capabilities. That, after all, is one of the system’s primary features. The company notes, “Now users can discuss a virtually infinite number of topics in a more natural and detailed manner with ElliQ.”
Intuition says the new models will improve the experience both in set and open-ended conversations, as well as improving ElliQ’s ability to intuit the nature of requests based on context. The company is exploring other avenues with generative AI, as well here.
“One example is the ability to paint or write poems together, activities that contribute to cognitive wellness and creativity,” Intuition notes. “Sharing these creations with loved ones or the greater ElliQ user community also contributes to social wellness, a decrease in loneliness, and amplifies a sense of recognition.”