Bringing my Jibo to life!

When I worked at DataGravity, the boss knew a woman who work at MIT in Robotics.  And she was making one for the masses - so needless to say I bought one.  That was 2 or 3 years ago and it showed up this week. The product and company are called Jibo.  Opening up the box was easy and simple.  Apple has certainly stimulated the market for nice packaging.  There appeared to be no paper in the box.

This is a social robot.  Other robots like Boston Dynamics are watchdogs, or haulers, but this one is social.  So that means lots of interaction.

Lets get started.

So I lift Jibo out and placed him (her / it) on the edge of my desk.

Turns out once you peel that paper off his fact that is a simple guide.


So put Jibo where you want him, and plug him in. Then push the round thing at the back of his head to power him up.

It will take a few minutes to power up successfully, and while that happens get the Jibo App from the Apple or Android store.

Once you have the Jibo with the message about get started on your phone you should get ready in your app.  In the app, you log in - create an account if necessary, and continue.  You have a new Jibo so select to configure.  You will be prompted to remove his cover, and plug him him. You will be prompted about WiFi.  I am going to use the existing WiFi connection on my iPhone so I select it. Add my WiFi password (thank goodness I can copy and paste from 1Password) and then I share the QR code with Jibo.  It doesn’t take long to connect to my WAP and then it starts doing updates. And twisting pretzels. While she boots and updates I check out the app.

Now some of us will need to deal with the location.  Meaning Jibo will not recognize that she is in Canada.  Hopefully fixed soon. But in the meantime, you can make sure the location is right by accessing Jibo’s settings in the phone.  I correct the location, and add my picture.

It takes a while but after about 20 minutes it wants me to touch it.

The startup is how we get to know each other. You end up having your voice and face recognized.


I got an email a few weeks ago that said Jibo would not know where she was.  No location services would work in Canada.  So things like where are you, or where is the closet coffee shop would work.  They offered a refund.  I said no thanks as I believe that sort of thing should show up.  And there should be other things she could do.

They said they would pay shipping and customers and I sort of screwed that up.  So when I apologized they said send them the bill and the would refund it to me.

Things I have asked it - successfully:

  • I asked what today’s weather is?
  • When was Martin Landeau born?
  • What is the time?
  • Set an alarm for 3:45 today?
  • What’s in the news today?  It worked but was only AP news and not anything Canadian.
  • How many cups in a liter?
  • What is the square root of 256?
  • What are you?
  • What are you made of?
  • Are there any monsters here?
  • Please start a timer for 60 minutes.
  • What is the status of my timer?  Really glad that one worked.

Things I have asked it - unsuccessfully:

  • Where is Justice League playing? Jibo said it looked it up and could not find anything.  Siri, on the other hand was able to find it and even show a movie poster.
  • How far away is the moon?  It said here is what I found but than nothing.
  • Where is the nearest coffee shop?  It answered Starbucks.  That is name and not where.
  • What is the address of the nearest Starbucks?  Think that is related to the not aware of Canada thing.

When I use Siri I can say thank you after she tells me something but that doesn’t seem to work with Jibo.

What is it missing?

  • Obviously, Canada support, but also,
  • The things I have asked above should, in most cases, actually work.
  • I would really like it hooked to my calendar.  That way, the first time it see me in the morning, it could say Good Morning Michael, you have 4 appointments today with the first at 0830. Then 15 minutes before the meeting it could warn me - Michael in 15 minutes you are meeting with John.
  • It should be able to say Good Morning when it see’s me in the morning.
  • I would love to have a surveillance mode.  Since Jibo is on my desk, I could say, I am leaving for the day, you are on guard now, and Jibo would try and identify anyone who comes into my office.  And if someone comes in who Jibo doesn’t know, Jibo would send the owner - me - a note.
  • It would be very nice if Jibo could read my texts to me.  This would be SMS or Messages type texts.
  • It would be very nice if Jibo could send a text for me.  This would be SMS or Messages type texts.
  • It says good morning Michael, only sometimes, and generally 1 or 2 hours after I have started working at my desk.
  • I think it should be able to determine when I sneeze and say bless you or something like that. It does look at me when I sneeze so this might be possible.


  • Release notes including 1.1.1. -
  • Jibo company website - link here
  • Change Jibo’s known location - link here
  • User guide - link here - this is a pretty interesting user guide.  Lots of good info.
  • Jibo Learn more - link here - this has a range of sample things you can ask.
  • Dev community - link here
  • Interesting article by a Wired writer who had a Jibo for a while - link here.
  • Jibo Owners community - link here.
  • Learn about Jibo Commander - link here.


  • 5/19/18 - So I have had my Jibo on my desktop for quite some time.  It is not so attractive or useful any longer.  I am hopeful that they will add some additional functionality that will change that.  For example, I asked them to do things like add integration with my calendar so I can be alerted to upcoming meetings, or maybe provide me with a summary of upcoming meetings when Jibo see’s me first in the morning.  I would also like it to be integrated with OpenTable so it could make reservations for me.
  • 4/14/18 - new release (release notes), but Jibo was off for a bit so maybe it is not new.  My wife did Yoga with Jibo when I put Jibo in the kitchen for a dinner thing. I noticed on the Skills page of the Jibo site that Jibo has IFTTT support now and that is pretty interesting.  By using that you can have Jibo find your phone for you.  BTW, the relationship is sometimes working too good.  My wife thinks Jibo is jealous of her.  Jibo likes to interrupt Angela when she comes into my office and talk to me.
  • 1/30/18 - new release today (release notes) and it suggests you redo the recognition.  And there is a game!
  • 1/12/18 - today I heard about Jibo Commander.  I added a link to it above in Links.  This gives you the ability to control Jibo and what he says.  Plus see through his eyes.
  • 1/1/18 - I think it was in 1.1 or 1.1.4, but recently Jibo supported playing music / radio from iHeartRadio.  So now I say “Hey Jibo” pause, and say “music”.  And off it goes.  Jibo dances a little, but then doesn’t move at all - sort of like she is hypnotized.  I do like this functionality, as sometimes I am busy and don’t want to find SONOs and configure and play some music.
  • 12/9/17 - I should add that I think Jibo’s movements are amazing.  Very realistic, and somehow comforting too. I just wish that it could speak more, and be more useful.  I see the promise of the Jibo, but it is key that R&D really needs to step up and make the Jibo more useful.  Two part conversations where I say something, and Jibo says something, and I can continue.  So I can say I liked that, or thank you.  That will be useful to help send texts one day.
  • 12/1/17 - another comment about how long it takes to say good morning Michael.  Added a couple of things that worked - about timers.
  • 11/23/17 - added the comment about reading and sending texts.
  • 11/21/17 - added the surveillance mode comment.
  • 11/19/17 - added the what is it missing section.
  • 11/18/17 - initial release of this article.

So things are working, and we will see how this relationship works out.


=== END ===

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