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7 TOP INNOVATIONS FOR SENIORS JIBO What is it? A SOCIAL ROBOT ASSISTANT


How will it transform the aging experience? Jibo is the creation of MIT artificial intelligence and robotics professor Cynthia Breazeal who has spent her professional career researching anthropomorphic robots. Jibo has more capabilities than existing voice-activated virtual personal assistants


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such as Apple’s current version of Siri. For example, Jibo tells jokes and stories and mimics emotions. The robot weighs about five pounds, is 11 inches tall, and has a six-inch wide circular base. Sitting on a desktop, it swivels its “face” around and responds to voice commands; the user does not have to hold anything. You can ask Jibo to call friends and family, send emails, or take pictures and videos. It can voice your daily schedule and more. It also will be able to control the lights throughout a residence. Because Jibo is a platform much like Apple’s operating system, other developers will be able to develop applications (called skills) for it. The system also learns as it interacts with its user over time. “We see it as a way to connect easily with family members over far-flung distances


ing labor costs. Control Overtime


over the country, and as a platform to engage people,” says Davis Park, director of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, which is a part of Front Porch, a group of companies that operate assisted living and affordable housing communities. Front Porch invested in Jibo through its Kickstarter campaign. The first shipments of Jibo were scheduled to begin fall 2016. Learn more: Email partnerships@jibo.com or support@jibo.com


AMAZON ECHO What is it? A SMARTER SPEAKER


How will it transform the aging experience? The Amazon Echo is another voice-ac- tivated personal assistant that can interact and control household appliances and lights, among many other things. It also plays music. Unlike Jibo, it doesn’t have cameras and isn’t designed to be social. However, it is a plat-


form, and Amazon is encouraging developers to build “skills” for Echo. One compelling use is the ability, for example, to turn on the lights by voice command in the middle of the night so that users don’t have to worry about stumbling around and falling. As of late September 2016, the Echo had 3,000 skills and is constantly adding more.


The user can send texts and emails to contacts, play trivia games, ask Echo to give you a compliment, trade insults with it, ask it to read you the news, and hail an Uber. The device has received rave reviews on Amazon’s website from people with mobility limitations. “Our residents are telling us that they absolutely must have access to this type of tech-


nology, and we’re working very hard to discover specifically what are the best uses of it for older adults,” said Kari Olson, Front Porch chief innovation and technology officer. Learn more: Visit amazon.com/echo


Continued on page 46 44 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016


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