5 Cool Things About Jibo, the Social Robot
If you still remember the cartoons of your childhood like Hanna Barbera’s The Jetsons, you’d probably dreamt of a future similar to theirs. Flying cars, teleportation, and heck, even talking and moving robots (like Rosie the cleaning lady.) Well, the future today isn’t much of of what we initially thought of when we were kids but some elements of it are taking shape.
Say for example, talking robots.
Yes, it is happening and it’s no longer just being used as a lab trial. Neither is this another high school robotics project. The latest development in technology is called social robotics. 2016 is predicted to be a big year in this field. Emotional robot Pepper has already been introduced and leading the path now is Jibo, a social robot created by a team of businessmen, engineers, and scientists led by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In a three-minute Jibo feature video on YouTube, Dr. Breazeal explained how robots would no longer just be moving machines but partners in helping humans improve their lives. If you watch the short clip, Jibo feels like an imagined or fictional creation made for Hollywood Sci-fi movies. You might even feel a little emotional seeing how Jibo interacts and helps the family.
But Dr. Breazeal assures everyone that Jibo is and will be real, at least come October 2016 after people have placed pre-orders. She did admit that the Jibo on the video was more of an idealized version, but it would not be impossible for Jibo to do such amazing things and more!
Here are actually some cool things about Jibo that might just convince you to adopt one.
- Jibo has a moving head and an eye
Sounds scary but it’s actually cute! Remember Mike from the movie Monsters Inc? He’s like a robot version of him mixed with a little EVE from WALL-E. Jibo actually has a stationary body with a 360-degree rotating head. The head can also move up and down much like a human head as well. It also has an “eye” displayed through a digital screen. It can blink, express emotion, and show visual reminders.
- Jibo can interact like a human being
Pretty soon, Apple’s talking voice Siri will be overtaken by more sophisticated and adorable social robots. Jibo, with his rotating head and blinking eye, can also talk smoothly to a human being. It can answer questions, read aloud messages, and who knows, it might even be able to crack a joke or two if the developers wanted to! Interacting with Jibo is hands-free so you can actually cook or read a book while chatting with it. Jibo also has a human quality voice that’s warm enough to welcome you home when you arrive. (Aww, ain’t that sweet!)
- Jibo will make selfie sticks obsolete
Remember the time when you wanted to take a group photo but someone has to be out of the picture? Or, you have to ask someone else to take the picture? Later on, to make this less of a hassle, selfie sticks were made. It’s the hottest thing right now and they’re selling like pancakes. But if you own a Jibo, it will be the one to handle it! Jibo’s eye can actually snap high resolution photos through voice command. Oh, Jibo can also record videos!
- Jibo can be a virtual proxy
Jibo can also stream video and connect video calls. Instead of a stationary webcam, Jibo can rotate its head remotely to whatever you want it to look at. It’s like you have a virtual head that can move and turn around the four corners of the room. Jibo can be controlled with a tap of a finger on your tablet. From the other end, Jibo can show your face on its circular screen.
- Jibo is a storyteller
Well, the most profound talent of Jibo is that it can help kids learn. In the video, Jibo is seen with a little girl and while she was reading aloud, Jibo was giving prompts, sound and visual effects, and a funny voice making the reading experience more animated. Seems like the developers want Jibo to be a skilled storyteller.
With all of these amazing talents, Breazeal still believes that robots will not replace humans but rather extend what people can do. Recently, they also came out with an April update for all of Jibo’s fans. For now, Breazeal is crowdfunding the project and is accepting pre-orders and those interested can sign up on the waitlist.