The social robot named Jibo, after massive delays, is finally making its way to the backers of its successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014 that raised over $3.6 million.
Jibo, which is also now being sold on its website for $899, was a groundbreaking product when it was first announced. Three years later, how does the social robot compare to more recent devices such as the Amazon Echo, and is Jibo really worth that price tag?
Meet Jibo: The Social Robot
The social robot was said to be capable of talking to its user through the set-up process, in which it will learn the voices of its users. Jibo can answer different kinds of questions and perform various tasks such as telling stories, cracking jokes, setting reminders, and placing orders. The social robot is also capable of taking photos and video upon the command of its users.
Jibo vs Smart Speakers
After its Indiegogo campaign, the company behind Jibo ran into various problems that kept pushing back the social robot's release date. While its backers waited for Jibo, products that are capable of similar things were released, specifically personal digital assistant-powered smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.
The one major difference that the Jibo has over devices such as the Amazon Echo, however, is that it looks to function more as a companion, as opposed to a lifeless device that sits in the corner. Jibo has a head that swivels, allowing it to face the person that it is interacting with it. The social robot is also said to be capable of building relationships with its users, by remembering their preferences and their identities through face and voice recognition technology.
Jibo is said to be the first commercial product that looks to make social interaction between humans and robots a reality. The long-term vision for the social robot, meanwhile remains ambitious, as it may eventually expand outside of homes and into settings involving health and wellness, eldercare, early childhood education, and many more. The Jibo platform is also described to be "the first developer platform with a personality," as developers can leverage the body movement, screen animation, and voice capabilities of Jibo for their projects.
The question now, however, is whether the social capabilities of the robot is worth the several hundreds of dollars that Jibo will cost extra compared to one of the various Amazon Echo models.