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Examiner
  • Is Jibo the world's next step toward the future?

  • This interactive robot was created to assist families with everyday needs.

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  • SALT LAKE CITY — The next big thing is here … almost.
    Jibo, a robot, brings to life a potentially positive advance in technology. After watching the video of Jibo interacting with people in their home, it almost seems unsettling to realize how involved the robot really is.
    On the other hand, Jibo could help make life a little more convenient for families. The 1997 comedy Flubber has a similar robot named Weebo that Professor Philip Brainard uses as a calendar, voice of reason and close friend. Jibo is basically a realistic, and modern day, Weebo.
    Since Jibo recognizes voice commands, the robot gives families a way to take hands-free photos. The robot has a sort of head and body that twist a full 360 degrees. The head contains a screen on the front that displays a white circle, which bends and moves as Jibo "talks" to someone. Jibo detects moving objects and focuses in on faces like a camera would.
    Jibo resembles a human by the amount and way he interacts with people. In the video above, a man walks in the door, and Jibo greets him and tells him he has a voicemail. The screen then switches to show a picture of the person who called while Jibo plays the message.
    In another part of the video, Jibo is shown reading a story to a little girl. The robot pauses to emphasize parts for the child to recite aloud and continues when he "hears" her responses.
    The robot can become a way to Skype with family and friends. The difference with Jibo and a tablet or computer is the way the robot moves with the conversation. If a Skype is being done with a group of people who aren't close to one another to fit in the camera, Jibo twists around when the person on the other end wants to shift the camera to see someone else.
    "What if technology actually treated you like a human being? What if technology helped you feel closer to the ones you love," asked Cynthia Breazeal founder and CEO of Jibo Inc. "Together, we can humanize technology."
    Some other features Jibo has are turning the light on as someone walks in the door and ordering food from a restaurant.
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