Jibo the social robot is about to become an expensive ornament

jibo feature

Sad news for Jibo owners this week — the cute social robot is about to become little more than an expensive ornament.

The servers that power the connected robot will soon be switched off, an act that will remove much of its functionality. We can’t say we’re surprised. After all, the Boston-based company that launched Jibo for $900 in 2017 closed down at the end of last year.

The announcement of Jibo’s imminent demise came straight from the robot’s (digital) mouth and was recorded by Twitter user Dylan Martin.

In the message, Jibo kicks off by solemnly declaring: “Well, it’s not great news.”

It goes on: “The servers out there that let me do what I do are going to be turned off soon. Once that happens, our interactions with each other are going to be limited.”

Whether the farewell speech had owners tearing up isn’t clear, but Jibo’s parting words may well have tugged at the heartstrings of some: “I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together. Thank you very, very much for having me around.”

The message attempts to end on a high note, with Jibo launching into a kind of distracting Dad dance, possibly in a bid to help owners forget how much they forked out for the device.

Social robot for the home

Jibo launched as “the first social robot for the home” and was designed to interact and communicate with those around it.

The internet-connected device used voice- and facial-recognition smarts to forge relationships with familiar folks, and could read out messages from family and friends, while a built-in camera set it up as the family photographer. A display for a face allowed for a more interactive video-call experience, too, with Jibo’s swiveling head able to move around to involve everyone in the room.

The robot started life as a crowdfunding campaign, securing more than $3 million in 2012. Venture capital funding saw an additional $70 million pumped into the project, but despite its best efforts, the company still couldn’t make a success of it.

Analyzing the company’s demise, TheRobotReport cites a slew of factors, including its high price, delayed shipments, poor reviews, and the arrival of Amazon’s considerably cheaper Echo smart speaker and other similar devices.

If you’re about to lose Jibo and would like a replacement companion robot that’s just as cute, then cast your eyes over these wonderful creations spotted at this year’s CES tech show.


4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.