Meet Jibo, a robotic device designed for people to use at home. Developed by MIT's Cynthia Breazeal, the robot can turn toward whoever's speaking to it and interact with them in a fun and engaging way. Remarkably, Jibo is expected to cost as little as a tablet computer.
Breazeal designed Jibo to be an interactive companion and helper to families. The secret, she says, is not its powerful sensors or processors, but its simulated emotional capacities. It's different from other gadgets in that it treats people like human beings. "Emotion is the next wave of this humanized high-touch engagement with technology," notes Breazeal in a Spectrum IEEE article.
Here are some of the things that Jibo is expected to do:
- Assistant: Politely reminds you of important tasks and events to help you stay on top of things.
- Messenger: Recognizes you and each member of your household, to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time & place.
- Photographer: Uses natural cues like movement, speech, and smile detection to know when someone's posing for a picture.
- Avatar: See-and-track camera makes it easy to turn and look at people, to support video calling as if you are in the room.
- Storyteller: Sound effects, graphics and physical movements make a responsive and interactive storytelling experience.
- Companion: Physical presence with helpfulness and heart, JIBO will put a smile on your face and make you feel better.
The device is still in the development stage, but the Jibo team is currently accepting pre-orders and starting a round of crowdsourced funding in an effort to bring the device to market next year.
Contributors will be able to purchase Jibo for $499, while developers looking to create new applications for the Jibo Network can acquire it for $599.
Read more at IEEE Spectrum.
Image: Ruth Reader.