Stevie Robot
Greg Kahn for TIME

Caring for the Elderly

Stevie Robot Greg Kahn for TIME 

People over 65 are the fastest-growing age group in much of the developed world, but the growth of the eldercare workforce isn’t keeping pace. The shortfall of paid care workers in the U.S. alone could exceed 150,000 by 2030, a gap that Dublin-based Akara Robotics believes AI can help fill. Akara’s signature creation is Stevie, a socially assistive robot designed for care homes. The robot has a friendly face, and can be adapted to play games, make deliveries and facilitate video chats. During initial trials this year in a Washington, D.C., retirement community, researchers found that residents liked Stevie best when it was entertaining them with stories and being social. Those features are important to get right, says Conor McGinn, Stevie’s lead engineer, as they are “the things that seem to affect people’s quality of life.” —Corinne Purtill

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.