Mabu, a robot helping patients with congestive heart failure, is working with the American Heart Association | Industry

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Catalia Health today announced it has formed a partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA) to bring AHA-approved content about heart attacks and strokes to Mabu, a personal health assistant working to reduce congestive heart failure patient readmission to hospitals.

Mabu is similar to robots like Pillo in that it's designed to help remind take their medication, but also looks to education and tracking patient activity to help patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

As part of the American Heart Association's Center for Health Technology & Innovation's Innovators Network, Mabu will now use AHA-approved content collected over the years about heart attacks and strokes validated by medical science.

“We have done a deal with them to be able to access all of that content and so we're now basically ingesting it into our platform so Mabu the robot can start using all of her in conversations with patients,” Kidd told VentureBeat in an interview.

The partnership will also help Catalia Health cobranded campaigns with the AHA to give patients and hospitals a better sense of what the robot can do and lend credibility.

Mabu is currently being used by about a dozen congestive heart failure patients at Kaiser Permanente. Additional partner health companies are scheduled to be announced in early 2019, CEO Dr. Cory Kidd told VentureBeat in an interview.

Mabu stands at 15-inches tall and is not mobile but it has a face and head because people are more likely to connect with a face, even if it isn't human. Created following Kidd's research at MIT Media Lab, Mabu is designed to follow a person with its head and eye movement.

The robot also utilizes emotional intelligence AI from Affectiva, another MIT Media Lab spinoff company, to interpret human feedback and reactions from facial expressions.

“It's right after the discharge from that first diagnosis of heart failure,” Kidd said. “Suddenly the patient is on a bunch of new medication, typically about five, it's going to change their diet, there's a certain things they have to track every day.”

Like Pepper, Temi, and the Moxi hospital robot currently helping nurses in trials in Texas, Mabu is imbued with social intelligence and comes with a touchscreen to display content, let users take action, or and allow them to follow along with words being spoken by the robot. The robot can also use conversational AI to listen for and respond to voice commands.

Beyond work with congestive heart failure patients, by the end of the year Mabu plans to introduce more programs for patients with chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and late-stage kidney disease patients, Kidd said.

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