I did a crazy thing last week. I saw a story about a new robot on one of those crowdfunding sites and bought one for $499.
The new device is called JIBO and it doesn’t look much like a robot. It actually looks more like a shaving mirror.
JIBO is basically a circular screen mounted on a pivoting stand. It can’t move around the room, but it definitely watches you as you move around.
“He’s the world’s best camera man,” says the video explaining JIBO. “By intelligently tracking the action around him, he can independently take video and photos, so that you can put down your camera and be a part of the scene.”
JIBO identifies faces and sends the picture anywhere you want. And, according to the video, it can talk to you in a way that makes Siri seem primitive. Plus, there are applications that will tell interactive bedtime stories to your kids. It can connect to your home, order you takeout, and even be your wing man.
The visionary behind JIBO is Cynthia Breazeal, who took leave from MIT’s Media Lab to set up the company.
“What if technology helped you like a partner, rather than simply being a tool? That is what JIBO is all about,” she says.
I will get my JIBO in December, and I plan to program him to sound less like the Pillsbury Doughboy and more like Carson from “Downtown Abbey.”