Jibo robot can do just about anything in the home
Device can take pictures, read text messages, order food, and read to kids
Sit. Stay. Shake a paw. Order takeout?
Billed as the world's first family robot, Jibo is like a pet with artificial intelligence — a furless companion that can interact with its human owners and make life easier.
Its brainchild is Cynthia Breazeal, an MIT robotics researcher, who says its role is to be like your family's little helper.
Jibo is "there to help families connect, coordinate, to play together, to try to help with organization, and to help with a new form of telepresence or videocall," said Breazeal in an interview CBC's The Exchange on Monday.
Its design appears to be pulled straight from a Pixar movie. Standing at 11 inches, and weighing about five to six pounds, JIBO looks like a white eye that swivels in two parts to greet you, take your picture, read to the children, check e-mail, and send you appointment reminders, among other things.
"Given that its core competence is really about enlivening content and engaging people, the ability to walk around is not critical to the design," said Breazeal.
Technology a friend not a foe
Breazeal hopes the device changes how we perceive new technologies, embracing them rather than fearing they'll kill jobs.
"Because Jibo has a warm persona, and feels like a someone not a something. there are many, many people who actually like this more humanized experience with technology versus just a flat device sitting on a desktop," she said.
The project has already raised $1.6 million on Indiegogo, making it the most-funded campaign currently running on the website. That campaign closes on Friday, August 15th.
Breazeal anticipates Jibo will be ready for mass manufacturing in 2016 and the price will be similar to that of a high-end tablet.