Virtual reality (VR) provides intense and fully engaging experiences, but augmented reality (AR) applications by definition allow people to carry on their daily routines while the technology adds something extra. We’ve written about work with AR at Stanford with the Autism Glass Project and Augmedix technology that improves patient visits when a doctor wears a Google Glass head-mounted computer to access patient records without having to look away from the patient. Augmented reality can also enhance on-the-job training and reference.

Electronic Caregiver is a division of SameDay Security. At CES 2019, the company will introduce Addison Care, which the company describes as “an ambient augmented reality virtual caregiver”. This does not mean that the user has to wear AR goggles. Instead, it is an interactive system that becomes part of the user’s living environment.

Addison Care is designed for use in the homes of elderly or chronically ill patients. The system relies on wireless visual sensors, local AI-based processors, interactive tablets, 15-inch displays, wireless biometric monitors, and emergency tracking components. Addison is the name of a 3D animated caregiver who appears on the monitors. Addison is able to perform checkups, remind patients to take medication and verify adherence, and contact clinical personnel or emergency services when necessary. The AR bot is programmed with the patient’s care plan and can carry on two-way conversations with the patient.

Addison Care supports aging in place by providing a responsive presence in patients’ homes. It provides an alternative choice for people who do not want to move to a care facility but cannot afford live in-home care. There are plenty of companies that will put movement and noise sensors in homes to send alerts to family or care teams if something isn’t right. By incorporating those services with a more in a visual, virtual caregiver with whom patients can talk and engage, Addison Care may be perceived as less threatening and more engaging for patients of any age. By adding companionship via a digital presence with its own personality, this care model is promising for future applications.