Since I’ve already posted about contributing to the JIBO Indiegogo campaign, I thought I’d add an update as it runs into its final few days. Perks were unlocked as the campaign reached stretch goals, and all of them were met and exceeded. Over 4,000 JIBOs are scheduled to be sent in this first run!
One of the perks is that contributors will be able to choose between a white or black JIBO (originally only white was offered). JIBO will also ship with “JIBOticons” expansion packs, a story pack, and a family watch skill that allows for remote monitoring. I’m leaning toward the black one to make it a bit less Wall-E, but I haven’t decided. I like the idea of the family watch skill though I have privacy concerns. We’ll see how things go further in the development cycle.
Some other differences since my initial post: JIBO can be shipped internationally to many countries for an additional $50 fee. They also brought back a funding option to pay $199 now and $349 and shipping in 2016; it’s a higher price and later shipping date than paying $499 up front, but it makes it possible for more people to join in if they can’t front so much. There will be several day-long hackathons next Fall for JIBO skill developers — the cost to attend is $150 plus you pay your own hotel and transportation. And, if you ordered a home edition but then decided you want to try your hand at developing, you can change to a developer’s kit by paying the $100 difference.
Though the trailer video for the campaign is very family-focused, I’m hoping that developers come up with many skills that are not centered around kids. The team conducted a survey of contributors recently and asked about what skills we want to see. The list that we could choose from was pretty lame:
Daily horoscope? Really? Who voted for that? You can’t think of a more useful skill for a robot in your house than telling you that today is going to be challenging, but if you’re persistent, everything will be all right in the end, <insert sign here>? At least it wasn’t a popular choice. The recipe skill was suggested in the video, so I can understand how that got a high rating. Having JIBO read my recipe step by step would be much better than my current method of propping my laptop nearby and trying to avoid getting gunk in my mouse.
When contributors were allowed to type in their own desired skills, however, priorites beyond cutesy crap you’d find in the daily newsletter at a senior center appeared:
Yes! This is more like it. I think the 3rd party developer market for JIBO skills is going to be exciting. We want a robot that works with us and is a true assistant, not just light entertainment. JIBO might just be the beginning, but I think we’ll get there.