Robotic companions are one new type of technology being created to assist and care for elders. One important research question is how should such systems be designed? In this paper we present the Huggable, a new type of robotic companion which is being designed to function as both a fully autonomous robot and semi autonomous robot avatar. In this paper we describe how the semi autonomous robot avatar version of the Huggable can be used as a research tool to help determine exactly how robotic companions for eldercare applications should be designed. In addition to describing the system, we present four research scenarios in which the Huggable can be used to help motivate this discussion.