Jibo the first family robot could revolutionize personal robotics by solving ease of use robotics like iPads for tablets and iPhones for smartphones

JIBO, The World’s First Family Robot, has raised $864,000 on Indiegogo and still has 26 days left to go on its crowdfunding campaign.

It is scheduled to be available by December 2015, Jibo will be capable of interacting with its owners; for now, it is just a prototype, but that could soon change.

Social robotics – that’s the idea behind Jibo, and Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has worked in the field for years. Involved in MIT’s Personal Robots Group, she has been focusing on developing the principles, techniques, and technologies for personal robots.

Breazeal and her team used simple approach towards designing Jibo. At first glance, the 11-inch tall robot — with a six-inch base — resembles more of a retro television than a 21st century robot. But rest assured, it will be loaded with all the amenities of current technology, such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

Come next December, Jibo is expected to be able to have the following capabilities that will allow him act as an assistant, reminding you of upcoming events; a storyteller, complete with sound effects, graphics and physical movements to boot; a photographer, noticing smiles to automatically take a photo; a messenger and telepresence avatar, allowing users to communicate; as well as act as an companion.

How JIBO Works

* Follow JIBO’s instructions to connect him to your WiFi network
* Teach JIBO to recognize your face & voice
* Learn what you can ask JIBO to do
* Download the JIBO mobile app (Android & iOS) to connect JIBO to your mobile devices
* Connect to Devices

Your JIBO Network can include:

* Mobile devices
* Personal computers
* Other JIBOs

These functions might remind people of something they already have: their smartphone, raising questions as to why they would need another device. Breazeal answers those skeptics with a now-popular device — in which people did not realize its potential at first — the iPad.

“After all, you could already do everything that an iPad could do on either a smartphone or a laptop. So what [was] the point,” she asked. “Now, I have three iPads in my home and millions and millions are sold every year. Why? Because the affordances of the iPad enabled new use cases that were superior or different enough from that of these other devices.”

Take photography, for example. People can use their phones or tablets to take photos, but this requires the person to step out of the moment, use the camera app on their device and then get back in the action.

“With Jibo, however, he’s not a camera — he plays the role of a cameraman. So as robot, you can ask Jibo to take photos on your behalf … Now photo capture can be done in a new way that provides real value to people, because [let’s] face it, we want to be in the picture, too,” Breazeal explains.

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