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    Tech Lab

    Jibo, the Boston-born home robot, is ready for its closeup

    Sebastian Mader for TIME
    Time Magazine named the Jibo robot one of the best Inventions of 2017

    The Boston-born home robot known as Jibo is ready for its closeup — at least according to Time Magazine

    The venerable news weekly put the the table-top device on the cover of its latest edition and named it, ranking it among the 25 best inventions of 2017 for its ability to to interact with people in a more human-like way than personal assistants such as the Amazon Echo.

    The machine is based on the research of Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It can perform functions that are now common to computerized assistants, such as provide a weather forecast or the latest news. It can also tell a joke or story on request.


    But unlike Echo, for example, Jibo uses speech and facial recognition to interact with members of a household. It can identify specific individuals and address them by name, rotate on its base to face someone who’s speaking to it, and shoot photographs on command. In addition, Jibo is designed to convey emotions like happiness or embarassment,

    Jibo is priced at a hefty $899, compared to the Echo or Google Home, both of which have models devices that start as lows as $50. Right now Jibo can’t perform nearly as many tasks as those other devices, but it is expected to become more capable over time, through regular upgrades to its software.

    Hiawatha Bray can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.