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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Social Robot for the Home: Jibo

The idea of a social, family robot is an interesting idea. None I have I have ever seen has worked very well, or has been very comforting.   Shades of Kismet from the same lab.    Now a new attempt, available in 2015, that is worth a look.  Nothing here to help you do any physical home chores, but just to be friendly.  The idea has been tried and sometimes successfully used  to amuse children, but will it work with adults?

" ... Cynthia Breazeal, the famed roboticist at MIT’s Media Lab and a pioneer of social robotics, is unveiling her latest creation today. Unlike her previous robots, created for research and used in settings like classrooms and hospitals, her newest robotic device is designed for people to use at home. Breazeal hopes users will find the robot, called Jibo, so fun and friendly that it will become "part of the family."

"Jibo, please introduce yourself," Breazeal says, looking at the little robot next to her during a demo last week in New York City.

Jibo doesn’t move. She tries again, and this time the robot springs to life, spins its body, blinks its eye, and talks about itself in an excited—if a bit robotic—voice. .... 

Jibo will come equipped with an initial set of apps, or "skills," as Breazeal calls them, that will allow it to play different "roles." For example, the robot will be able to act as a cameraman, tracking faces and snapping pictures so you can be in the photos. It could also act as an assistant who reminds family members of their schedules, or as a telepresence avatar that helps people connect with each other.  ... "  

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