I’ve noticed this week that there have been a number of new prototype and crowdfunded pieces of new technology coming to market lately. I think the real revolution came to my attention originally with Google Glass and the self-driving cars. Next came personal drones, Siri’s advancements, and 3D Printers. And forthcoming is Cortana and the Oculus Rift, and it just seems that the advancements keep coming. Then I read about Jibo.
Ok, I know that’s a lot of links, but I want to make sure the information is there for those that don’t know what those things are.
Jibo is a family/house robot. You read that right. It’s your family’s personal assistant in the same way that Rosie was in The Jetsons, only it isn’t mobile and it doesn’t clean – yet. It’s an idea that is in production. If you clicked the link to their website (you don’t need to if you haven’t), you may have noticed that they are available for pre-order. They also raised almost 15 times their goal of $100,000 on Indegogo, a crowdfunding site, and there are still 14 days left to contribute. It’s really sort of amazing to see a little bot like this get backing. It’s also a little crazy.
When I was growing up, we dreamed about household robots. They were a luxury of the far-off future of flying cars and homes amongst the clouds. They were a staple of scifi movies, with characters like C-3P0 (Star Wars), MAX (Flight of the Navigator), and Johnny 5 (Short Circuit) winning our hearts and creating a love for the “robo-friend”. But somehow the idea that they would become real seemed distant and impossible. Then a few years ago, I knew that the reality was approaching when I saw the ASIMO demonstration with my sons at Disneyland. I just never realized how close.
Jibo is a few steps away from any of the aforementioned robot assistants. It can’t walk/roll, can’t do physical tasks, and is powered by a wall plug. For those afraid of “the Terminator result”, it’s a little comforting knowing that it can’t do anything if it’s too far from a power outlet. For those of you excited about having a personal robot in your future, the wait will soon be over. For now, Jibo is slated to have similar functions to Siri, acting as a fantastic personal assistant. Over time, they plan to add functionality that will improve its usefulness. I have to say, I like having something there to take the pictures and video at Christmas and birthdays so I don’t have to worry about it.
Technology is advancing quickly, more quickly than I ever imagined it would. It’s both frightening and exciting to see what we are capable of in terms of human innovation. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments, and join us next week when we discuss the realization of virtual reality in the near future.