#371 July 21, 2014 – Jibo – A Family Robot

This week’s headline story: Jibo – A Family Robot

jiboYou may recall a robot name Kismet from a several years back. Kismet was the work of Dr. Breazeal at MIT’s media lab, who was conducting research on human-robot interaction. Kismet was a robotic head that included mechanical eyes, ears and a mouth creating expressions that mimicked human emotional states.

Dr. Breazeal is back with a new robot named Jibo which is being crowd-funded on indiegogo.com. Jibo is a table top device consisting of a stack of three components, allowing a display to swivel freely in any direction. The globe-shaped display shows an animated ball giving the entire unit an eyeball appearance. The New York Times describes it as an alarm clock on steroids. Jibo performs a variety of interactive tasks like sending messages, taking pictures, acting as a personal messenger and serving as a robotic stand-in during conversations between people in different places, as well as a “friend” with a personality.

“It’s really important for technology to be humanized,” Dr. Breazeal said. “The next stage in computing, the next wave, is emotion.” By placing an “intelligent” system in homes, she says, she is hoping to transform the nature of computer-human interaction — from today’s systems using mice, keyboards, windows and touch to something that is more natural and mimics the way humans themselves interact. Jibo also represents a model for robotics that is intended to extend or augment human capabilities rather than replace them.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • New Raspberry Pi model B+ doubles up on USB ports, adds microSD and more [PCWorld]There’s exciting news for the maker community this week. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is back with a new version of its do-it-yourself circuit board. The new Raspberry Pi B+ provides more GPIO pins, more USB ports, a microSD slot, improved audio, and lower power consumption than the previous edition.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • Bill ensures emails, photos won’t die with you [Yahoo]What will become of all of your online data: your Facebook photos, Twitter Tweets, YouTube videos, and Email, when you die? A group of influential lawyers has developed legislation that would automatically give loved ones access to all your digital accounts when you die, unless otherwise specified. For this legislation to become law in a state, it would have to be adopted by the state’s legislature. If it does, designating such access could become an important tool in estate planning, allowing people to decide which accounts should die when they do. Such a law would likely frustrate some privacy advocates, who say people shouldn’t have to draft a will to keep their mom from reviewing their online dating profile or a spouse from reading every email they ever wrote.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Amazon Unlocks Vast E-Book Library for $10 a Month [Ecommerce Times]If you are an avid reader, you’ll probably be interested in Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited plan. The new service allows customers to download and read as many books as they want from a list of more than 600,000 Kindle books for a monthly fee of $9.99.
  • Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA [Ecommerce Times]Remember Amazon’s drone aircraft delivery video? If not, it’s easy enough to learn about by searching the web. Amazon wants to take it’s drone delivery from dream to reality and is petitioning the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices on its own property.
  • Microsoft Layoffs Would Be the Fourth-Biggest in Tech’s Modern History [Slate]Microsoft has announced its biggest round of layoffs in its history. As many as 18,000 employees—or up to 14 percent of Microsoft’s workforce—are on the line to lose their jobs. More than 12,000 layoffs are expected to come from the Nokia mobile phone business.

and finally…

  • You can buy your next Dell laptop with Bitcoin [Engadget]Another big ecommerce giant has announced that it is accepting bitcoin payments. CEO Michael Dell alerted the masses via Twitter that his company would begin accepting the digital currency, claiming that the outfit is “world’s largest ecommerce business” to do so. The device maker is partnering with Coinbase to power its Bitcoin transactions, and those looking to snag a new Alienware rig will earn a discount when forking over Bitcoin for payment.

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