Have you ever dreamed of a robot that would fetch you snacks from the kitchen or walk the dog when it’s raining?
Well, dream no more! Sort of.
JIBO, a new creation from Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, a pioneer of social robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, is being touted as “the world’s first family robot.”
Although it is not mobile, and therefore can’t fetch anything for you, JIBO does have some pretty cool features that were revealed in a YouTube video posted this week by Jibo Inc.
“JIBO helps everyone out throughout their day,” the narrator explains, as JIBO is shown taking pictures of a family enjoying a birthday party and being a “hands-free helper” as a woman cooking in the kitchen is politely reminded by JIBO that someone is coming to pick her up in a half hour.
JIBO is also called an entertainer and an educator, as he — yes, it’s a male — reads “The Three Little Pigs” with a little girl, complete with sound effects from the Big Bad Wolf.
The video then claims that JIBO is the “closest thing to a teleportation device” as he is shown sitting around the table enjoying a turkey dinner while a person on a video call uses him as his eyes and ears to scan around the table.
JIBO also connects to your home, even ordering takeout for one happy user in the video.
“What if tech actually treated you like a human being,”Breazeal, founder and CEO of Jibo Inc., asks from her workshop. “What if helped you feel closer to the ones you love? What if helped you like a partner, rather than simply being a tool? That’s what JIBO’s all about.”
JIBO is still in the funding stages, with an indiegogo campaign that launched this week offering several levels of perks. For $499, you can pre-order your JIBO, with an estimated shipping date of December 2015. There are also several perks that allow you to donate a JIBO to children and families in need through a partnership with Boston’s Children’s Hospital.
One perk that quickly sold out was a donation of $99 to receive a JIBO that will later be valued at $400.
JIBO’s crowdfunding goal of $100,000 was quickly surpassed, with the campaign already raising nearly $450,000.
As the video flashes images of famous robots such as “Star Wars'” R2-D2, Johnny 5 from “Short Circuit,” Rosie from “The Jetsons” and Pixar’s Wall-E, the narrator sums up how we should feel about JIBO.
“We’ve dreamed of it for years,” he says, “And now he’s finally here.”