'Social robot' Jibo reaches Indiegogo backers three years later

Good to see a crowdfunded robot get off its feet.

Three years after an astronomically successful crowdfunding campaign raised over $3.6 million, Jibo the robot is finally ready. The social bot is available to buy on its site for $900; Those who backed its Indiegogo have already started receiving their robots, while more recent preorders will start shipping on November 7th.

On its Indiegogo page, Jibo claimed to be "The World's First Social Robot for the Home," which was a bold and auspicious claim in 2014. But delays to work out the robot's kinks pushed the release date further and further back. In the interim, personal assistants from Google, Amazon and soon Apple have hit the market and given users a modicum of what Jibo promised.

But Jibo intends to be a companion, not just an assistant to bark at. It uses speech and face recognition to remember individuals, remembers preferences, and attempts to converse with jokes and stories. Plus, its angled head bends and moves to face whoever it's talking to. Unfortunately, it seems that Jibo still isn't shipping outside the US and Canada -- the company refunded outside backers, citing international latency to its US servers as reason to avoid giving non-North American customers a subpar user experience.