While Jibo isn’t the first attempt at building an interactive robot for the home, it may very well become the first one you actually want to own.
It’s not like the family robot old-time science fiction imagined. It won’t fix your bed when you wake up, grab you a beer when you get home, or even wash your clothes on the weekends. Instead, it functions more like Siri with personality, answering user queries and performing digital tasks, all while looking like an adorable robot pet.
Armed with facial and voice recognition, the 11-inch tall Jibo can identify the person it’s talking to, allowing it to tailor responses to the specific individual. It will even recognize facial expressions, so it can guess your mood and customize the interaction to your specific state of mind. A 360-degree mic array lets users talk to the robot even when it’s facing away, with dual speakers for providing voice feedback. The face is a circular LCD touchscreen, which can be used for both information display and gesture controls. Since robots are only half-awesome if they can’t do cute things (or be a giant car-juggling behemoth), Jibo has a top section that can spin, swivel, and twist from the base, allowing the body to move like it’s dancing.
Since Jibo’s functions are based on how people currently use mobile devices, it can integrate common tablet uses, such as teleconferencing, web searches, and queuing up movies on your Netflix account. Sure, it’s a long way from the helper robots we saw on the Jetsons, but there’s a definite chance this will be the first step to get there.
Jibo is currently raising funds for production with an Indiegogo campaign. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $499.