August 28, 2014      

RoboBusiness is proud to announce that preeminent innovator, robotics thought leader, and Jibo Inc. founder and CEO Dr. Cynthia Breazeal will keynote at RoboBusiness 2014, the leading business development event for the global robotics industry, taking place Oct. 15 to 17, 2014 in Boston.

Breazeal is an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab. She is a pioneer of social robotics and human-robot interaction whose research spans both the creation of intelligent and socially responsive robots as well as how they contribute to people’s quality of life.

She penned the book Designing Social Robots and has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, presented at TED, is a recipient of Technology Review‘s TR35 Award, Time magazine’s Best Inventions, and was honored as finalist in the National Design Awards in Communication.

Jibo Inc. is producing the world’s first family robot. At press time, Jibo had raised more than $1.8 million on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.

Breazeal’s keynote, “Social Robots: From Research to Commercialization,” will discuss how this new breed of social robot interacts with people in an interpersonal way, more as a partner rather than as a tool, and opens new applications for socially intelligent machines in the future.

Bridging the gap between the lab and commercial market, she will point to methods for creating robotic technologies that can enhance people’s quality of life with specific applications focusing on children in healthcare, education, and telecommunication.

Breazeal will also discuss the commercial challenges of bringing robots to the home as a mass consumer product in the context of Jibo.

RoboBusiness 2014 is all innovation, all the time. Join 1,200 executive-level attendees, including robotics executives, investors, researchers, end users, and business consultants for three days of private networking, world-class speakers, and informative educational sessions on robotics’ commercial opportunities.

What can Jibo do?

Jibo is an 11-in.-tall robot that will have a variety of abilities that will help people manage their daily duties. It has a 6-in. base, weighs around 6 lb., and is made mostly of aluminum and white plastic.

Jibo’s face mainly consists of a 5.7-in. touchscreen with a couple of stereo cameras that can recognize faces, stereo speakers, and stereo microphones. By the 2015 holiday season, there will be a mobile app compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as a Web interface so you can interact via computer.

Jibo is still in the developmental stages, but the company has easily surpassed its crowdfunding goal of $100,000. Here’s a quick look at what Jibo is expected to do:

  • Assistant: Politely reminds you of important tasks and events to help you stay on top of things.
  • Messenger: Recognizes you and each member of your household, to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time and place.
  • Photographer: Uses natural cues like movement, speech, and smile detection to know when someone is posing for a picture.
  • Avatar: See-and-track camera makes it easy to turn and look at people, to support video calling as if you are in the room.
  • Storyteller: Sound effects, graphics and physical movements make a responsive and interactive storytelling experience.
  • Companion: Physical presence with helpfulness and heart, Jibo could put a smile on your face and make you feel better.

The Jibo story

Here is Breazeal’s story on how Jibo came to be (via the Jibo Blog):

About 15 years ago, I set out to create a very different kind of technology at MIT. I embarked on this quest with the belief that technology can support a far more personally meaningful human experience. A belief that technology should support and prioritize the unique needs of a human being as we interact with it — to empower us to succeed, thrive and grow with technology like never before.

I have dedicated my career at MIT and at Jibo Inc. to this mission. I have continued to push the boundary and dive deeper into the interplay of social robotics and human betterment.

I do this because I want to empower people to stay healthier, to learn better, to age with dignity and independence, to support more empathic and emotionally engaging telecommunication with those you love, to delight and surprise and entertain so that people laugh and experience joy and wonderment more often, and to make our lives just a bit easier with a touch of technological magic. That’s a good start.

How is this possible? The mind shift begins by re-conceptualizing what a robot is.

Over the past decade, I’ve discovered that social robots, in fact, are powerful new platform for personally directed, emotionally engaging content. It is a technology that uniquely infuses content with proactive intelligence and an “empathic” presence.

Social robots don’t just display like our screen-based devices and digital tools. They perceive the shared space around them so that they can respond to you — more like a someone than a something. Because of this, social robots can bring any content “to life” in a way that is personally meaningful and emotionally engaging unlike any other technology.

Black and white Jibo models

As a platform for content — Jibo, the world’s first social robot for the family — enters the home bringing high touch engagement to high-tech. It’s not just about what it does; it is how it does it. It plays a role for you, it’s not simply a tool.

This enables new use cases and new opportunities for how we experience and incorporate technology in our life — even for apps that we might use on other devices.

For instance, remember when the iPad first came out? People said, “I can already do anything an iPad can do on my smartphone or laptop, so what’s the point?”

Fast forward to today –I personally own three iPads, and over 100 million tablet computers are sold every year. Why? Because the interaction affordances and user experience of tablet computers are sufficiently different from other devices that people choose to use tablets in new and different contexts. And, by the way, many people who own tablets still use smartphones and laptops, too.

What does this mean for Jibo as the first social robot in the home? Instead of a calorie-counting app, a social robot engages you as a personal health coach. Instead of a preschool game app, a social robot engages as a personalized learning companion. Instead of a camera app, a social robot is a cameraman so you stay part of the action. Instead of an e-reader, a social robot is an engaging storyteller who performs the story with you as the audience.

Instead of appearing as a flat “talking head” on a video call, you can be physically and expressively co-present via a social robot avatar, so that you can partake in natural group dynamics — either addressing the whole group or turning to have a private side conversation.

Instead of a passive monitoring system, social robots can engage with attentive companionship, so that even if you live alone, you don’t feel alone, and you are empowered to live with greater independence and can feel better connected to your family and community.

Get the idea? The possibilities are endless. There is a whole universe of possibilities for humanized technology that engages us more like a partner than a tool. That’s a big idea.

Furthermore, thanks to the mobile computing revolution, many of the technical components that make the Jibo experience possible have matured. They are now powerful enough, small enough, low-power enough, and cost-effective enough such that Jibo Inc. can bring our vision of the first family robot to the world at a mass consumer price point. We live in exciting times for robotics!

The team that I have assembled to develop and bring Jibo to market is truly amazing! They are uniquely qualified with deep expertise in social robotics, AI, machine learning, speech technology, machine perception, cloud computing, mobile ecosystems, user interface design, character animation, Internet security, and more. They are masters and veterans at the intersection of cutting-edge technology, user experience, and business from highly successful corporations and renowned institutions.

RoboBusiness 2014

Oct. 15 to 17, 2014

Hynes Convention Center | Boston, Mass.

Keynotes | Speakers | Conference Tracks | Workshops

Special Events
Game Changer Awards | Pitchfire | Startup-Investor Matchmaking

Register Today!

To learn more about and register for RoboBusiness 2014, click here.