I'd like to download this as a Word file. - GeriJoy

fencinghuddleAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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PRESS RELEASE

via
www.gerijoy.com/press


GeriJoy’s virtual, talking dog wants to keep your loved ones
company this holiday season

MIT
-
based company (
gerijoy.com
) launches virtual companionship service for seniors suffering
from loneliness


December 24, 2012


Do you know a senior who is spending the holidays alone? Research consistently shows that loneliness is linked to
depression and even Alzheimer's.

In fact, just last week the

Wall Street Journal wrote about a new study

supporting
the link between loneliness and dementia. And e
lderly people don't have to be alone to suffer from loneliness; for
example, feelings of loneliness are prevalent in senior care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living
facilities.

That's why

Victor Wang
, an alumnus of the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
, decided to start

GeriJoy
.
"My home
-
bound grandmother lives alone,
and when she started to suffer from depression and suicidal symptoms,
my family struggled to find a solution," says Wang, who grew up in Canada, where he served as an army officer. So
when he finished his graduate studies at MIT, researching

human
-
machine interaction for NASA's telerobotics
program
, he set out to develop a solution and lead a revolution in senior care. Teaming up with co
-
founder

Shuo
Deng
, a PhD candidate in the

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL)

at MIT, they started
what

AARP

and
other thought leaders consider to be

one of the most innovative companies in senior care
.

GeriJoy makes

talking pets for lonely seniors
. The pets are virtual, and run as a

software

service on tablet
-
based
devices. The current version of the software is essentially the

modern realization of the

fabled

talking dog. It
provides t
he availability and unconditional love of a pet, combined with the ability to talk with true intelligence and
compassion. Through sophisticated, patent
-
pending software, the pet reacts realistically to touch and care from the
senior, and because it lives i
nside the tablet, it can deliver the

health benefits of pet therapy

without any smells,
allergies, cleaning up, bites, or food and veterinary bills. Being
software, the virtual companion could in the future
look and behave like anything: a cat, for example, if the senior has such a preference. However, as

most who have
interacted with the G
eriJoy companion

agree, the truly amazing part is the conversation.

GeriJoy employs a

worldwide network of specialized staff
, who use GeriJoy's proprietary web platform to provide
the intelli
gence behind each GeriJoy companion. This allows seniors who are subscribed to GeriJoy's service to
experience truly intelligent and compassionate conversation, with the pets serving seamlessly as avatars for
GeriJoy's staff. Thus, conversation can be abou
t almost anything. GeriJoy offers a web platform for families to
easily upload photos and updates. The GeriJoy companion presents this family content intuitively to the seniors to
spark family
-
oriented conversations, throughout the day, every day. Moreover
, the web interface allows family
members to view daily logs and updates about how their loved one is doing, allowing greatly increased peace of
mind.

Clearly,

the benefits are enormous
:

impr
oved mental health for the elders and reduced stress for their families. In
particular, Alzheimer's patients can benefit from daily reinforcement of family memories and relationships. And by
building a stronger family connection, family members enjoy an im
proved experience when visiting their loved one
at home or at the care facility.


A recent alumnus of the NYC
-
based

Blueprint Health

accelerator program, GeriJoy has

ambitious goals

to revitalize
the senior care industry. After

months of testing

their service at

top
-
rated senior care facilities

in both Boston and
New York City, GeriJoy has announced that they are now

available for consumers

for the D
ecember 2012 holiday
season

and beyond.


To find out more, or to order for your own loved one, please visit
www.gerijoy.com

or email

info@gerijoy.com
.




Founders Victor Wang (left) and Shuo Deng (right), at MIT with an early prototype of the GeriJoy virtual companion for senior
s.



The GeriJoy companion takes the form of a lovable virtual pet in a tablet device. It reacts to touch and care like a live ani
mal
would, and talks intelligently with its owner. Conversations are facilitated by GeriJoy's live staff, who refer to images and

updates uploaded by family members through GeriJoy's web interface.




This split
-
screen image shows a dementia care patient
at a nursing home interacting with an earlier version of the GeriJoy
companion. Psychological surveys showed improved emotional health due to GeriJoy's service. A video of this interaction is
available at
www.ge
rijoy.com/video
.