Jibo: The Personal Assistant with Security Features

Written by | Updated March 30, 2015

John Connor may have had a Terminator to protect him, but it looks like our first foray into robotic security is going to be more like Wall-E than Arnold. Jibo Inc., a robotics startup company, recently raised enough money to create a robotic personal assistant for you and your family. It also has some pretty great security features that could help protect your home.

What is Jibo?

Jibo is the brainchild of MIT robotics professor Cynthia Breazeal. It’s a legless, armless, personal assistant that swivels around on a base and communicates with you through movement and sound using built-in speakers. It looks like something straight out of an animated film rather than real life.

Word about Jibo began popping up early last year and the company got off to a great start. Breazeal put together a page on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo last summer to raise money for her personal robot and managed to garner $2.3 million in pledges. She also presold 4,800 Jibo robots.

She raised over $25 million in investment funds in January and is seeking more money to add features to her robot. The company hopes to begin manufacturing the Jibo robots in time to ship out the pre-ordered ones by the end of this year.

What Can Jibo Do?

Jibo’s creators often tout the little round-faced robot that could as “Siri with a smiling face.”

The robot comes packed with artificial intelligence algorithms allowing it to learn your habits and preferences and adapt on its own. It can read and act out your kids’ favorite bedtime stories, take family photos, and keep an eye out around your house. You can interact with it from anywhere in the room.

Jibo is equipped with two high-definition cameras capable of tracking its owners face and movements. It sits on a swivel base and its head can rotate in all directions. The robot can use past interactions to learn its owner’s habits and tailor specific reactions and communication for each person it frequently interacts with.

It also keeps track of missed calls, voicemails, and can give reminders of important events. You can use Jibo to hold Skype calls with friends and family. It’s even rumored to be capable of conducting intelligent conversations.

How Does This Help Home Security?

Jibo’s ability to take photos of its surroundings is a fun element when you want to capture the moment with your kids, but the robot’s video capabilities provide the best security features. The robot will be equipped with the Jibo Family Watch Skill that can trigger it to swivel toward sounds and snap video or photos. You don’t have to be in the room, but it’ll know when someone else is.

The best part is Jibo can sync with your home’s smart appliances. Developers plan on allowing Jibo to connect to appliances like smart light switches and locks so you could potentially deadbolt your door using the robot. You could use the Jibo app to tell the robot when to adjust your light’s automatic timers. Jibo’s capabilities could even allow it to memorize your habits and adjust your security features to the way it knows you like them.

Jibo currently stays in one place but that might change in the future. For now, you could place Jibo anywhere in your home you feel needs extra security. Put Jibo near your front door to spot anyone trying to break in, in your living room to watch over your valuables or in your master bedroom to watch over you while you sleep.

On second thought, the last one might be a little creepy.

The robot’s ability to adapt and learn could potentially enable it to integrate with your automated home security system in the future. Jibo is connected to its own smartphone app and could theoretically be used to control all the same features of your home security you now access with your smartphone.

Developers plan on adding features as they continue to raise funds. As it stands, Jibo looks to be a great tool that can serve as a useful addition to the home security system you already have in place. It’ll provide added protection for your family and home while serving as a robotic assistant and friend. And, let’s be honest, it’ll make for a great conversation piece.

Image Source: Jibo Facebook page

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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