Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meet Jibo. The world's first family robot.

Jibo, a new robot developed by researchers from MIT's Media Lab, can see, hear, speak and complete a variety of tasks around your house. He's not making cappuccino's yet, but the robot's open platform design gives developers the ability to teach this bot all kinds of new tricks.

Don't let his size fool you - this little guy has a big personality. Meet Jibo. The world's first family robot. Cynthia Breazeal of the MIT Media Lab created the pint size companion.

 "Interacting with Jibo feels much more like interacting like a someone rather than interacting like a something. And Jibo as a robot is something that can move with cameras that can move and see you and interact with you like a living thing so to speak. It can bring content to life off the screen in an entirely new way." Besides singing, Jibo can do things like tell bed time stories, remind you about your doctor's appointment and even take family photos. He's also able to recognize social signals with the help of a touch sensitive skin.

 "What we found through a lot of my research at MIT was that when you had something physically and socially present people often communicate through touch so they might pat Jibo if it does something that they like and Jibo can actually learn from that. Well I want to do more of that b/c it made my person happy so touch can become a communication and reward signal to the robot." And Breazeal says that over time, the robot will get smarter and have increased functionality thanks to its open source design which will allow Jibo owners to program new tasks for their bots and sell them on a app network.

 "Eventually as a platform you can imagine adding physical capabilities to the robot - You can imagine eventually connecting to home automation, connecting to health devices so it can serve as a personal coach - so these are the in kinds of things that the platform will enable over time." Jibo will cost between $499- $599 (USD) when it comes out in 2015. Till then, Breazeal and her team will be fine tuning Jibo, making sure he's ready for his big debut.

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