Israeli robotics firm Intuition Robotics has revealed it’s raised $22m funding to develop its ElliQ social robot aimed at the elderly.
The robot interacts with older people by mimicking the movements of humans, although it couldn’t look much less like a human if it tried. In fact, it looks much more like a desk lamp, but we guess this means it’ll fit into home decor better than other social robots.
But that could well be because the ElliQ robot was designed by industrial designer Yves Behar. While the vast majority of social robots designed for interacting with humans are made to look like a fellow human or animal, Intuition Robotics’ CEO Dor Skuler said the company wanted to move away from that conception.
“With ElliQ, Intuition can bridge the cultural and technological gaps between users and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Mr. Skuler told Calcalist.
The company doesn’t want people to become too attached to the robot as if it’s a human or animal companion. ElliQ has been designed to provide a service rather than to become an elderly person’s best friend. It’s an enabler, helping older people stay in contact with the outside world through video calling, to use social media such as Facebook or Twitter or to help the human discover information using the internet.
Supporters of the robot include Samsung NEXT, SPARX Group and Glory Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, iRobot, Bloomberg Beta, and a number of other Israeli VCs. The company raised $14m funding last year, with the additional $6m raised in a funding round that concluded at the tail end of last year.