Rapid innovation in smartphone technology has given us a glimpse of how we will interact with digital tools that can understand and adapt to our preferences and tendencies. Now, an MIT professor is betting that people will welcome a more sophisticated digital personal assistant into their homes. Cynthia Breazeal, who has twenty years of experience working with technology that enables robots to respond to social cues, has created Jibo, an innovation that her company claims is the world’s first family robot. Priced at $499, Jibo is significantly more affordable than other similar robots on the market, but can do many of the same tasks, like order takeout, recognize and track faces, and make video calls. Jibo’s designers have also made an effort to give the device, both in its physical design and “voice,” a friendly, human-like personality.
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