Siri and other voice control software 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, is trying to break away from that mould.
Jibo is designed to be a social robot that you interact with like it’s another person in your home. Hungry? Tell Jibo it’s time to order a pizza and it will go online to get your usual. Celebrating a birthday? Jibo can snap a photo of your daughter blowing out the candles on the cake. It also does the stuff you normally associate with smart assistants, like reminders or sending messages. They can also communicate with each other, so you can ask Jibo to remind your mom to pick up the kids and her Jibo will let her know the next time it sees her.
At least, that’s the promise. Jibo isn’t set for release until late next year, so many of the features aren’t in a usable form yet. You can see in the video of our demo above, the current model can dance and introduce itself and that’s about it – no so useful.
But it’s a robot that looks like something out of Pixar‘s Wall-E and has a personality. It has a lot of people excited, with its Indiegogo campaign bringing in $407,000 with days left to go, massively overshooting the campaign’s modest $100,000 goal.
The pre-orders will cost around $599 and is expected to be available December 2015.