The robotic personal assistant
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Ever watch The Jetsons as a kid? If you did, can you safely say that you sometimes wished for your very own Rosie? Enter Jibo, the first robotic assistant specifically designed for the average, middle-class family.
Jibo is an interactive artificial intelligence capable of keeping track of your schedule, messages, phone calls, photos, and even your favourite take-out places. What puts it a step above other similar technologies is the conversational nature of its program. Siri and Cortana might be able to answer questions and make recommendations, but they cannot initiate the communication. Jibo on the other hand, can—and not only that, but it can reply to notifications, and place orders for you as well.
According to Jibo Inc. CEO and founder Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, the intent behind the Jibo project was to “humanize” technology, making it accessible and practical for the modern household and family. Breazeal has stated she wants technology to “help you, like a partner” as opposed to being a “tool.” Someone must have agreed, because Breazeal’s unique concept won her the 2014 L’Oreal Next Generation Award.
Some of Jibo’s unique family friendly functions include its ability to track faces and take photos as well act as a screen for communication via video call, which the person being projected can control. Both of these functions are made possible through the patented design that allows for 360 degree rotation. The actual unit is stationary, but wireless, so it can be moved when necessary.
Now fully sourced through crowd funding, Jibo is preparing for its beta stages. Currently pre-orders for the unit have been put on hold as the first wave of orders from the crowd funding campaign are being processed and filled. Those lucky few who backed the project early in production will be among the first to welcome home their new bundle of aluminum joy, and I for one, am crossing my fingers that all goes well so that the unit will be available for large scale retail purchase soon. Currently the first shipment of Jibos can be expected to be released around fall of 2015, with a second shipment released shortly after in the winter. Unfortunately, due to language barriers in the program Jibo is only going to be available in the United States and Canada, but according to the project’s website, Jibo.com, the development team is already attempting to rectify this.