A video showing Jibo, the world's first family robot at work, has gone viral. And for good reason. The video shows Jibo, as the robot is called, interacting with family members, clicking group pictures, reminding people about things to do, and even telling bedtime stories to children. All the while acting like a real person. Jibo has an uncanny resemblance to Eve from Wall-E, the Pixar movie.
Jibo currently exists as a single prototype and is not capable of doing everything that is shown in the video at this time, reports Extreme Tech. However, the company plans to equip Jibo with a lot of these features when the first iteration of the robot goes on sale in 2015. Jibo is expected to cost $500 at the time of launch, which puts it in the price category of an average affordable consumer electronics appliance.
In his (Jibo is male) current avatar, Jibo stands 11 inches tall and has a base that measures six inches across. To not make him look intimidating, and also making him easy to be carried around, Jibo weighs in at a portable sounding 2.7 kg. Jibo has a face too, which is a 1920x1080 pixel display. Apart from the display, Jibo would also be equipped with multiple cameras and stereo microphones. Although not very tall, Jobo's body has three regions -- all of which could be rotated 360 degrees. This enables Jibo to bend, turn around, and respond to sound coming from different directions. His body is also touch sensitive, and he can respond to touch gestures as well. Made of aluminum and plastic, Jibo is likely to come in an all-white variant. In his final form, Jibo would also be able to recognize faces.
Jibo's makers are also using Indiegogo to raise funds for the project. The initial response looks promising, as they have already managed to raise over $500,000 as opposed to the original target of $100,000.
The makers of Jibo are a team led by Cynthia Breazeal a professor at MIT and a leading proponent of social robotics for the past two decades. The company she incorporated is called MyJibo, and they expect the first consumer version of Jibo ready by mid 2015.
Jibo's $500 price can be owed to the ongoing mobile revolution that has seen the price of hardware come down to extreme levels. Jibo would be powered by an ARM based chipset and would also house a small battery that can power him for around 30 minutes. Jibo is however expected to remain connected to an AC wall unit all the time. There are also plans for an external battery pack. On the software front, Jibo runs a heavily customized version of Linux. He would also require an "always on" Wi-Fi connection for him to perform his duties optimally.
Robots like Jibo has always intrigued humanity and we have in the past seen precursors to him in fantasy movies and animated series. Would you fancy owning your own private, family robot?
[Image Via Facebook]