Pfizer launches pilot with home robot Mabu to study patient response to AI

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer today announced plans to launch a one-year pilot program with robotics company Catalia Health, maker of Mabu, a home robot that coaches patients on health and prescription drugs.

Mabu uses voice interactions powered by conversational AI to assess a user’s mood, record data, manage symptoms, and provide helpful information. The robot then supplies information back to medical professionals — like caregivers or clinicians — such as the frequency of medication usage or questions the robot was unable to answer. Mabu is also able to supply personalized responses and deploy affective computing from Affectiva to predict a user’s emotional state.

The robot is designed to help ensure patients take their medication and adjust to any drastic lifestyle changes resulting from an affliction, CEO Cory Kidd told VentureBeat in an interview.

The one-year pilot program will launch in the coming months to assess patient behavior when interacting with artificial intelligence. The drug company also uses AI in a number of ways, ranging from robotic process automation to user engagement and NLP to support drug discovery.

The partnership follows trials with Kaiser Permanente patients over the course of the past year. Released in May, analysis of initial patient usage from the first year found that 84% are more likely to keep track of disease symptoms when they regularly interact with the pill-dispensing robot.

Mabu currently focuses on helping congestive heart failure patients. Last year, Mabu began work with the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology & Innovation’s Innovators Network to incorporate helpful information from the organization’s archives.

Beyond its focus on chronic heart disease, Catalia Health plans to work with other chronic illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis and late-stage kidney disease.