Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jibo: your very own personal robot

Jibo is not the regular robot that you are used to seeing. It has no legs and can't walk. It has no hands and can't hold stuff for you. But what it can do is to sit there with you and have a conversation. It looks like a smartphone but with limited mobility. If you can call the top part its head, then what Jibo can do is to turn its head from side to side. The bottom part ("the body") is not mobile and so it sits on your table or your desk and can look around the room. So if you are walking around the room, it can turn its head and track you. The head seems to contain a screen to display stuff and a camera to shoot pictures and videos.

(Picture from the video below)

It has a face that is displayed on the screen unless it wants to show you something on the screen. The face is a simple circle that changes shape depending on its mood. So if it is happy, it turns the circle into a smiley. Its simple and neat.

It responds to your voice commands or may be unrestricted speech. So you can ask it to order takeaway food, read voice mails, take a picture, call someone, etc.  It can tell you stories to your little ones and keep them company. You can call it a companion bot, if you like.

The product itself will be available in 2016 and is developed by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal and her team at the MIT. The project has raised a whooping $1 million USD on Indiegogo in just a week's time (about 10 times the funds it originally wanted).

Will this be the new future for personal robotics? Will these robots get into our homes just like smartphones got into our pockets? Will these be our future homemakers? Lets wait and watch!