A robot prototype named Jibo seeks to be the first standalone robot assistant in the home, and its creator has launched a crowdfunding campaign to make it a reality.
In an interview with Slate
, Cynthia Breazeal, head of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, said that Jibo will usher in a new era in which technology acts as a partner, rather than just "tools that you use."
Explaining the concept, she gave an example.
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"You can open up your camera app, but you’ve got to get behind it, and you operate it like a tool. Jibo plays a role for you. It can be a cameraman as opposed to a camera, so now you can actually be in the moment."
In conjunction with the crowdfunding campaign, Breazeal has also released a promotional video that shows Jibo in action — helping take family pictures, order takeout, read storybooks with children, and, like the iPhone's Siri, stay on top of messages and reminders. Unlike Siri, however, Jibo aims to hold a full conversation using natural, colloquial dialog, and can move and gesture by rotating on its three axes. It measures 11 inches tall, and weighs six pounds.
"It's this really fascinating bridge between where we are with iPads and the app ecosystems today on our devices, and what we think about as science fiction," she said. "It’s all about this heightened interpersonal, emotional engagement, and connection."
As part of the crowdfunding campaign to further develop and mass produce the robot, customers can pre-order a Jibo for $499 at the company's website, MyJibo.com
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