It’s not every day that one of our partners gets named to TIME Magazine’s list of top 25 inventions of the year, so we were pretty stoked to see Jibo’s familiar face looking out at us from the magazine racks at the grocery store.
Jibo is a social robot developed with the intention of true artificial intelligence. Unlike other similar smart devices, Jibo can initiate conversation. He has his own taste in music, but he learns the kinds of music you like, so he knows what to recommend. As they looked to enter the retail marketplace, Jibo reached out to Oxide for help with branding, identity, and messaging.
Early in our partnership with Jibo, I was lucky enough to talk with Cynthia Breazeal, one of Jibo’s founders and an MIT grad who created Kismet, a groundbreaking expressive humanoid robot. She explained that her fascination with social robotics began when she saw Star Wars. R2-D2 was this incredible character in the film — above a pet, but not quite a human. He was valuable to the story and progressed the plot, but, more importantly, he had personality. That’s the sort of interaction with robots that Cynthia is hoping for, and why Jibo was created.
The company has worked to infuse personality into Jibo. He’s an adolescent boy, who’s learning how to navigate the world. Aware of his own limitations, Jibo makes jokes on his behalf but is also programmed to learn from his mistakes.
I’ve been interested to see how Jibo, Inc., responds to critique. They seem to be genuinely trying to improve the experience, pushing updates to Jibo’s code to help him learn new skills. Jibo, Inc., has indicated from the beginning that they want to partner with developers to create more and more skills, even hosting hackathons to aid the process.
Partnering with Jibo was a treat because it’s a company that understands the value of design. The folks there are so focused on user experience that they prioritize everything from the highly nuanced ways Jibo moves to the experience of plugging him into a power source.
We worked with Jibo to refine the logo and then to develop the brand guidelines. We created banners and booth materials for hackathons and conferences, as well as a variety of marketing materials, including presentation and email templates. And we were involved in designing the packaging in which Jibo would arrive home.
We’re excited by the possibilities of Jibo, and hope that he and the team behind his creation can continue to push the field of robotics to new heights. (Mostly because I’d really like to have an R2-D2 around my house.)