Meet ElliQ, the robot who wants to keep Grandma company

MSN:

“ElliQ, good morning.”

“Good morning, Susan.”

“How did you sleep?

“I slept well, thank you.”

“That’s good. Would you like to do some exercise?

“Not now. I’m going to church. Maybe later?”

“Okay.”

Susan Thoren didn’t like blowing off her roommate — and she could have gone for that SilverSneakers aerobics video — but she was late to see her pastor. Maybe Susan would hang with ElliQ later, after she took her Shih Tzu, Little One, out for a walk on the lake near the Largo, Fla., retirement community where she lives.

Not during the walk — as Elli was fond of reminding, she can’t walk; she doesn’t have legs. She’s just an AI in the shape of a lamp.

On Tuesday, an Israeli company, Intuition Robotics, commercially released ElliQ after a long beta-use period. Billed as an AI companion for the elderly, ElliQ offers soothing encouragement, invitations to games, gentle health prodding, music thoughts and, most important, a friendly voice that learns a person’s ways and comforts them in their solitude.

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