Social Robot Could Enhance Family Life


JIBO is a robot that can relate to people and make daily tasks easier and more entertaining

Vashti Hallissey
  • 28 july 2014

Picture the scene: You get home from work and a friend asks how your day was, tells you about any messages that were left for you and, because you fancy a takeout, orders from your favorite restaurant which they happen to have on speed dial. But this isn’t your partner or the best housemate ever, it’s “the world’s first family robot.”

JIBO, created by Cynthia Breazeal, pioneer of Social Robotics and MIT Professor, is a robot designed take part in family life. What makes the Jibo special is that it can relate to people, understanding social and emotional cues and responding in kind.

On the JIBO blog, Breazeal explains what makes social robots different.

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 asomeone than a something. Because of this, social robotscan bring any content ‘to life’ in a way that is personally meaningful and emotionally engaging unlike any other technology.

JIBO stands at 11 inches tall, weighs around 6 pounds and has a swiveling circular head. Underneath its simple, rounded design is an extremely sophisticated machine which is able to recognize different people, use artificial intelligence to learn your preferences and identify voices with 360° microphones.

As JIBO is designed as a family robot, the emphasis is not on its technical specs but on what it can do for you. In the launch video and the highly successful Indiegogo campaign, which has raised over a million dollars so far, the Jibo Inc. team prioritizes the ways that it can complement family life.

The blog states:

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 ishow it does it. It plays arole for you, it’s not simply a tool.

For example, with JIBO, no one has to step out of the frame to take group photos. It recognizes when people are smiling and can capture the moment, letting everyone enjoy the experience without having to worry about recording it.


JIBO can also tell stories and be an interactive study aid, using sound effects, graphics and physical movements to engage with the children or adults.


It can deliver voicemails and messages hands-free, give people reminders and make immersive video calls. The head can move around to focus on whoever the call recipient chooses.


JIBO would also be a good companion for older people who live alone, enabling them to keep in touch with their families and providing an intelligent companion to assist when needed.

JIBO is an open platform, which allows developers to add features to it. The team plans to ship the device to developers in the third-quarter of next year and to consumers in Q4. People who pre-order it now can buy it for the special inaugural price of $499.

Technology is often cited as making people more distant from each other. As people spend time watching their screens instead of communicating face-to-face, playing Candy Crush instead of having a conversation, this can seem to be the case. But JIBO Inc has turned this concept on its head, with a piece of technology that could bring people closer together. JIBO could improve family life by taking care of daily tasks and letting people focus on each other.


[h/t] The Next Web


Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Travel Yesterday

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Sustainability Yesterday

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Related Expert

Jonathan Ford

Brand, Product & Experience Design

Syndicated Yesterday

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Op-Ed Yesterday

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers

Technology Yesterday

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Store Technology Expert: Why Retailers Must Invest In Store Associates

Jan Kotowski, Head of Product at Tulip Retail, shares his thoughts on how retailers should be preparing for the future

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Yesterday

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Yesterday

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Yesterday

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Yesterday

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Yesterday

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience


Conference Built Around Our Report Launch

Retail Yesterday

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Yesterday

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Design Yesterday

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

No search results found.