“Connected Health” Robot

Not sure what to make of this email I just got from Joseph L. Ternullo, JD, MPH, Associate Director, Partners HealthCare’s Center for Connected Health, inviting me to the “Connected Health Symposium”:

Dear David,

We organize the Connected Health Symposium as a festival of ideas, a place where the best health and technology thinkers on the planet come together. The hope is to stimulate your sense of the possible and inspire your strategic thinking. So I’m delighted to announce that, in a Symposium first, inventor Dr. Cory Kidd, Founder and CEO of Intuitive Automata, and Dr. Caroline Apovian will put Autom, a robotic personal coach, through its paces.

Dr. Apovian, the first clinician to test Autom’s effectiveness, is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at B.U. School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center’s Director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management.

What’s important here is not just the product but the wider implications. Designing for social robotics draws on the latest in ergonomics and human factors research, so there are take-aways on how people interact with machines and online systems. Autom hits the US market soon with a price tag of about $500, same as the first iPad. We need you with us in October to assess the impact and implications.

Please join us in Boston in October. Early-bird registration and exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are open. We look forward to welcoming you!

A quick google of Intuitive Automata and I’m watching this video:

Urgent Message to Steve Jobs: You’ve got until October to start shipping a Dalek accessory for the iPad (with a rotating head with blinky eyes at least!) if you don’t want to lose out to fans of this little automaton.

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6 Responses to “Connected Health” Robot

  1. David, thanks for your post. Even if you are skeptical about what we’re doing, I’d love to hear your comments. Dr. Apovian and I are excited to have the opportunity to talk about it with this audience. The study results from our trial were very strong, so we’re looking forward to launching the product later this year.


    • Hi Cory,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The clinical target of your work is very important but in my opinion you’d benefit greatly by availing of a more accessible platform as it would be a shame if adoption of your solution was held back by the limited versatility of this rather bespoke device.

      Have you considered using the Video Mobile as a platform to build out and establish the service? Check out the convergence we’ve witnessed in the last decade by reading this blog post (and the research by T Ahonen that it is based upon) as I think it’ll open your eyes to what we’re going to see over the next decade:


      Why not develop your solution to work on the Mobile Internet (or better still a 3G Video Mobile!) – where incidentally I think it could be really successful?

  2. David, apologies for the slow reply.

    I’m quite familiar with what’s happening in the mobile space with applications and video. I agree that it’s a very accessible platform and that the increasing rate of sales of these devices means that they’re in many lives all over the world.

    The research that led to our product was looking at the efficacy and engagement of long-term interaction on a variety of devices. The short summary is that when there is a physical aspect to the interaction (for example, the robot that looks at and talks the person during the interaction), it makes an enormous difference over doing the same thing with a virtual character on a screen.

    It comes down to our psychology and how we interact with other people. The same reasons that in-person conversations are different than mediated ones (via phone, IM, e-mail, video conference, etc.) are the reasons that socially interactive robots are more effective than screen-based applications.

    At this point, our robot does cost about the same as a smart phone (without a plan subsidy), but we’re starting to produce them on a small scale. As we get more of them on the market, costs will come down. So while I agree that a mobile application can reach more people, we just don’t see it actually being effective at solving the problem we’re working to solve, namely getting people engaged and motivated in dealing with long-term health issues.


  3. Pingback: The difference between Connected Health & mHealth « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  4. Pingback: Just accept it many people in Healthcare really don’t get the remote video opportunity « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

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