F064 Fighting loneliness in older people with robots (Richard Marshall)
Social isolation and loneliness are linked to several health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. Can these problems be alleviated with the help of robots?
A group of French innovators created Cutii — a robot for the elderly that looks like a screen on a stand that moves around in the environment. It supports speech recognition and vocal synthesis so the users can send written messages using their voice, the robot allows remote control for family caregivers, detects falls. The robot is an IoT device that enables the elderly to meet new people — caregivers in the Cutii community. Caregivers are usually younger volunteers that share their activities (for example cooking, hiking, visiting the gallery) while being connected to an elder in real-time. The robot is currently available in France, Switzerland and the US.
The average age of Cutii users is between 72 and 74. As explained by Richard Marshall, VP of Business Development at Cutii, the aim of the company is to increase the years of happy living to those that wish to age in their homes. Most people do, due to the emotional attachment they have with their home.