After a very slow and steady progression over the last thirty years or so we may soon be on the verge of a new era of robotics. One in which robots go from moving boxes on the floor of a warehouse to moving your family emotionally from the couch in your living room. Google’s recent robotics spending spree and strategic move towards home automation is a definite indication of this new reality. But the real proof is in the form of a new family friendly robot known as Jibo that may soon become the newest member of your clan.
As TechCrunch writes, “While Siri and its ilk have gotten most of us used to the idea of talking to our devices, the current selection of smart assistants still feel more like tools than something with a personality. Jibo, a new robot from MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal, might be the gadget that finally changes that.”
To understand why that is it’s important to note that Jibo is a social robot not just a voice controlled personal assistant.
According to Business Insider:
“A social robot is simply one that’s designed for interacting with people and meeting their needs. Jibo’s physical appearance and movements are vaguely reminiscent of Luxo Jr., the famed Pixar lamp. Its “head” is a display with embedded cameras so that it can perceive its environment, and its segmented body animates itself by way of three swiveling sections. It reeks of adorable appeal.”
So what exactly can this robot do? Well, check out the video below to see it in action:
For those of you who didn’t watch the video here’s a quick rundown of what it can do:
- Take pictures or record videos so that you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. In fact, with Jibo serving as the cameraman all members of the family can be in all the pictures!
- Serve as a telepresence robot allowing someone to view everything going on in the room remotely.
- Read incoming messages so that you can stay informed without having to stop what you are doing.
- Play games or serve as a educational program for kids.
- Serve as a voice controlled personal assistant capable of ordering food for you for example.
As you can see that’s a lot of functionality packed into a tiny robot and it’s likely that it’s capabilities will expand over time. Clearly it has the potential to catch on since it really does offer something for everyone in the family from being a friend to a little kid to acting as a personal assistant to a young professional.
I’d still love to have a Rosie the Robot type of maid in the house with me one day but until that day comes Jibo may just be the next best thing.
Is a family friendly home robot the Greatest Idea Ever?