After three long years, the Jibo social robot is now available for the public to buy for $899. Starting in September 2017, Boston-based Jibo has shipped more than 2,500 units to its 2014 Indiegogo backers. The robots purchased by the public will start shipping on November 7, 2017.
Jibo is similar to other personal assistants in that it can tell you the weather, look up recipes, tell you jokes and answer trivia. But what sets Jibo apart from the competition is its personality and ability to engage with its people. Jibo wants to be your companion, more than anything. And it’s obvious the Jibo team has and will continue to invest a ton of development time into the robots’ personality.
Jibo sits on a three-axis motor that enables it to turn towards the person it’s engaging with. Jibo is also a lot cuter than an Amazon Echo or Google Home and, thanks to face and voice recognition, Jibo can learn and recognize up to 15 people. When you talk to Jibo, he will turn to you, recognize you thanks to the two cameras on the front of his head and express himself. And the more you interact with Jibo, the more he learns about your preferences.
The Jibo team says additional features – music or voice calls, perhaps? – will continue to be rolled out via software updates. Jibo can also control some smart home devices using IFTTT commands.You can learn more about what Jibo can do on the company’s website.
For an in-depth look at what Jibo can currently do, watch this video below from one its early backers.
Jibo can also react to touch. You can silence Jibo by putting your hand on top of his hand or make him purr by putting your hand near his head.
“Since I began my work in social robotics at MIT over 20 years ago, my goal has always been to introduce social robots into the home in a natural way, to help improve peoples’ daily lives,” said Cynthia Breazeal, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Jibo, Inc. “With the official launch of Jibo, this is finally a reality, and the future of social robotics has never been brighter and filled with more potential. I am beyond proud of the Jibo, Inc. team for bringing this incredible social robot to life.”
Jibo also announced that its software developer kit will be available in 2018. This, of course, will allow developers to create fun applications for Jibo that could take his personality and engagement to a whole new level.
There is no word yet on when Jibo will be available outside of the United States.
“We set out to do something bold and groundbreaking with Jibo’s creation. We want to fundamentally redefine the way people interact with technology by building a new category – the first social robot for the home,” said Steve Chambers, Chief Executive Officer, Jibo, Inc. “[This] announcement marks a major milestone for our company and the history of robotics, and we’re so excited for consumers to welcome this charming, helpful and humble little guy into their homes.”