Have you heard of Jibo yet? It proclaims itself as “the world’s first family robot”, and is the vision of MIT professor Dr. Cynthia Breazeal. Jibo is like a semi-sentient tablet, a standalone photographer, and neighbor Flanders all in one. Currently Jibo is being crowdfunded through IndieGoGo. If you haven’t seen the video, I recommend watching it. The first time I saw it I thought it was a parody for a few minutes.

 

 

So, what do you think? Cool, creepy, useless, useful?

The aim of Jibo is to provide a social robot for the household. From taking pictures, to playing games, to being an avatar for a family member who is away, Jibo could become integral to family interaction (or inaction, as is sometimes the case with cell phones).

After watching the video I had a few questions tumbling around in my head.

Will Jibo eventually be a purveyor of ads?

“Dave, Driscoll’s strawberries are on sale today at Kingsoopers, would you like me to order some?”

“All apps are 25% off today, may I offer a suggestion?”

I imagine developers will have to be careful not to turn Jibo into an obnoxious loudspeaker for ads, but I’m sure there will be some sort of advertising created through Jibo.

Will Jibo offer enough unique ability to warrant having one in a household? Or will it be redundant amongst all of our phones, tablets and, smart tv’s?  I think if it’s able to provide unique services, Jibo could become ubiquitous, if not though, it might end up like Tekno the robo-dog I bought in middle school. Toys like Tekno and Furby were all the rage when I was growing up, but the were quick-lived fads. Will Jibo be just a fad? Or something more?

Poor Tekno, I don't even remember what happened to you...

Poor Tekno, I don’t even remember what happened to you…

I tend to think that Jibo has a chance to become a common household item, but it will  have to surprise us with a diversity of uses. The creators are looking forward to when developers get a hold of Jibo’s scripts and begin making 3rd party apps, so surely some interesting applications might be found. Can you think of any?

Finally, I’ve noticed a lot of new startups taking advantage of  crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo  to begin their ventures. I  think it’s a clever idea, not only can  they drum up a lot of of investment, but  companies also get a lot of organic exposure as people spread the word. It gives the company, despite existing outside investments, a chic-underdog vibe, which people might feel more inclined to support than a tech giant. What do you think? Was Indiegogo the best way to launch Jibo, or should the company have simply launched from it’s own website?

I want to hear what all you readers think, so let me know in the comments below, will Jibo be a winner or just so-so?