Skip to main content

Move over Siri, the Jibo robot is coming

By Maggie Lake, CNN
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1602 GMT (0002 HKT)
  • Jibo, a personal robot, has been launched by robotics pioneer Cynthia Breazeal
  • The robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members
  • CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills
  • But the Jibo up for grabs is just a prototype -- so don't expect too much

Editor's note: Maggie Lake is a business anchor and correspondent for CNN International. She is based out of the network's New York bureau. Follow her on Twitter.

New York (CNN) -- A smartphone or tablet feature high on your holiday list this year? How about a robot instead?

Cynthia Breazeal, head of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, is launching a crowd funding campaign that will let you buy exactly that. What is being billed as the first family robot -- Jibo -- is on the way.

At $499 for consumers and $599 for developers, the price is in line with a high-end smartphone. But Jibo is intended to be so much more. Breazeal, who has pioneered work in making robots more social and interactive, believes Jibo can be an organizer, an education tool, even assist elderly family members.

"Jibo is this helpful presence that helps support your family, your human network, to be more efficient and feel more connected," says Breazeal.

I was amazed to see the way small children respond to robot interaction
Maggie Lake

We got a chance to meet Jibo and see a demo of what he can do. It is a big leap from the likes of Siri, which most of us are used to.

As a mom, I loved the fact it can snap pictures -- finally I will be in some! The reminder functions would be great for my busy family and I also think kids will engage.

I spent time with Breazeal in her lab this week and I was amazed to see the way small children respond to robot interaction, as opposed to a learning app which they can tire of quickly.

There is, however, much Jibo can't do yet, so keep your expectations in check. Jibo does not think independently. He is not going to be your personal butler, or dinner date.

If you order Jibo now you are getting a prototype, which by definition means not everything will work the way you hope. This rollout is intended for those who want to help refine Jibo.

The software running the robot is an open developer platform and Breazeal and her team fully expect that community to come up with novel ideas that will help Jibo mature. I, for one, hope someone can make Jibo mobile. Right now, he spins but can't follow you around the house.

But if you're are ready to embrace the robot revolution and invite one into your family, Jibo says he wants to meet you too.

Part of complete coverage on
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- the three countries facing the biggest health crisis -- are also facing huge bills to try and contain the virus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
Twitter has lost its position in the top 20 coolest brands for the first time in three years.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
As the crisis in Iraq escalates, CNN looks at how Iraq could crack down on ISIS' oil riches under the guidance of its new oil minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0842 GMT (1642 HKT)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's new president . So can he revitalize its economic fortunes?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Experts share their tips on cities they see as emerging financial hubs...they're not where you think.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Growing numbers of us are willing to serve as bank, teacher or travel agent to people we have never met, and entrust them to serve us in turn.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The European Union is stepping in to save its dairy from going sour.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1236 GMT (2036 HKT)
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Peer-to-peer finance lets businesses bypass bank loans. Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing questions, David Clark writes.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT)
CNN's Jim Boulden looks on the future of online shopping.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.