The latest project by Yves Béhar and his Fuseproject studio aims to resolve the difficulties encountered by an ageing population living alone when managing technology. Far removed from the Hollywood standard, Elli•Q is a new and utopian artificial intelligence robot.
According to Age UK, a large charity working with the elderly, almost half of people over 75 live alone and more than a million say they often or always feel lonely. Thirty-six percent speak to fewer than one person per day and 11% say they see no one on more than five days a month. These few but all-telling data suggest that elderly people living alone increasingly rely more on technology than human interaction to source information and communicate with family and friends – but they often struggle to use it. These data prompted Yves Behar to design a robotic companion called Elli•Q for the Israeli start-up Intuition Robotics, previewed at the “New Old” exhibition at London’s Design Museum last January and tested at a trial stage in the homes of elderly people in the US Bay Area in February.