Robots are no longer exclusive to science fiction films nor are they a concept still waiting to arrive. Ever since the development of the personal computer, skeptics foresaw a world where the majority of people would depend on technology for virtually everything. Taking it step further, critics exclaimed the horrific vision of robotic machinery replacing humans as a whole. We all fear what we don’t understand. For those that do comprehend the complex world of molecular engineering and nanotechnology, the attitude is more optimistic. Scientists and engineers imagine a future where robots can assist humans with the responsibilities and issues that we currently face. But for now, a team of researchers is implementing robotic support designed for household assistance.

Smarthome, Inc.

Jibo is the world’s first “social robot” inspired by the minds of founder and chief scientist Cynthia Breaszeal and CEO Steve Chambers. Launching an Indiegogo campaign in 2014, they were able to accumulate $3,711,958 thanks to the support from nearly 7,500 backers. The campaign’s outstanding performance made Jibo the #1 Most Successful Technology Campaign on Indiegogo in the summer of 2014. At first glance, the cute little contraption looks similar to a tiny desk fan stretching about 11” tall and weighing only 5 pounds. Jibo can see with two hi-resolution cameras that recognize facial features, take pictures and allow user-friendly video chat. It can pick up the speech with full range 3600 rotating microphones and natural language processing. The artificial intelligence is designed to offer a degree of empathy by speaking with social and poignant signals that people can easily understand. In addition, Jibo’s preset algorithms are able to learn preferences of its users and adapt to them accordingly. These “skills” are apps that can be integrated into Jibo’s function to further assist with an array of tasks. Its sole purpose is to be a personal assistant that can promptly remind users of important tasks and improve organization. Because it can recognize the people around them, it can also convey messages to designated recipients. All of the user’s personal information is stored in Jibo’s cloud and adheres with FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection guidelines. Jibo even shuts off its camera while users are sleeping and turns back on upon their approval.

Consumer attitudes are dramatically starting to shift, and Jibo’s team received genuine curiosity at the 3rd Annual #StartupColumbia Entrepreneurship Conference. Because technology has played a role in virtually every aspect of people’s lives, the most rational course of action was to develop a platform to accomplish personal household duties. Despite the negative stigma of robots in the mainstream culture, Jibo developers are focused on keeping the message clear and focused on improving its functionality. In hopes of extending the reach of human possibility, Jibo’s skill-based apps will eventually have the capacity to fulfill individual needs similar to our common smartphone. According to Reddit, the first installments will be available in October with a price tag currently marked at $750. Anyone can visit their website and join the waitlist to reserve their newest robotic addition to the family.

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