A considerable number of American seniors will age in place over the coming decades. According to the nonprofit National Council on Aging (NCOA), by 2060 the number of Americans 65 and older will be nearly 95 million. On average, a 65-year-old can expect to live for another 17 years. For many of these older adults, those years will be filled with challenges, including falls, chronic diseases, behavioral health issues, and more. The NCOA estimates that 1 out of every 4 older adults falls each year; nearly 95% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and about 80% have two or more. A robot companion could help with all of that.
But we don’t have to wait until 2060; a capable smart-home robot is (almost) here. Looking somewhat like a rolling droid from the Star Wars films, the EBO X robot that debuted at CES 2023 has several features (among its dozens) that can aid seniors as they age in place. If EBO X detects that an older adult has fallen, it sends an alert to a caregiver. Should someone call for help, EBO X will make an emergency app call. When it’s time to take medication, EBO X knows and can find the family member who needs the medication through facial recognition software.
The security that EBO X provides extends to the entire family. At first use, the robot scans and automatically maps a home, allowing the device to navigate the home in auto-cruise mode. Users can program EBO X to guard specific areas, such as entranceways, and the robot will send an alert if it detects an intruder crossing this virtual fencing. Want to monitor the kids when they’re in a different area of the house? EBO X can follow little ones with smart-tracking capabilities and keep parents in contact through two-way communication and video via a smartphone app. If EBO X hears a child crying, an alert goes out.
Plus, it’s Alexa-compatible, making the robot a rolling smart hub. Tell EBO X to play your favorite songs, turn off the lights, lock the front door, and draw the curtains — just about any smart-home feature that’s controllable through Alexa can be done with EBO X. But you don’t need an Alexa keyword for voice-activated commands; the robot has biometric interaction, and a touch to the back of its “neck” prompts it to heed voice commands with no mention of Alexa. EBOX’s creator, the Chinese robotics company Enabot, says the device will launch in the second quarter of 2023 with a retail price of $999.