karen dolva

Profile | No Isolation CEO and User Experience Designer Karen Dolva

Wine, food and music are essential ingredients for the good life, but so are a roof over your head and people who care about you. With our four interviewees, you are in good hands

The easiest way for the world to fall in love with your ideas is when you don’t push them yourself, but when you listen to what others have to say.

Energetic and altruistic, Karen Dolva’s face lights up when she talks about her work at No Isolation. She’s clearly feeling good about things. But then again, that’s what she hopes everyone will feel. Her goal: to help people reduce feelings of loneliness and the sense of being cut off from others; to get everyone connected in relationships they find valuable.

The idea of the good life, she says, depends 98 percent upon the people around you. And it’s that which drives her “to figure out how people can talk to each other better.” And to keep making things that make sense not just to her but to others.

At No Isolation, she develops easy-to-use technological tools for individuals and groups struggling to participate more fully in their daily lives. Tech-savvy people find it easy to stay connected, she says, but children and seniors in particular do not, especially when they have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses.

One of the company’s most ambitious projects is the robot AV1, which helps sick children stay connected to their school and classmates. “They need to see what is happening in real time,” she says. The small robot serves as children’s eyes, ears and voice when set in the classroom, live streaming the events over tablet to their homes or hospitals. Currently, there are 215 active users all across Europe.

Making robots was hardly what Dolva expected when she and her two partners founded the company. But the satisfaction of seeing those kids’ eyes shine and their families happy again certainly was. “To help people have a good life is the best feeling in the world. I could never go back to not contributing.”

In a world of ever more mobility and rapid change, loneliness is widely underestimated, she says; being lonely has huge side effects on individuals and communities. Dolva is dedicated to using technology to help address this issues.

“We build tools that can help those who are left behind by life to catch up.” And one day, their faces again will light up, because they have made contact with a friend.

Karen Dolva will be speaking at TEDx Vienna’s “On the Edge” event at Volkstheater on October 21.

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