Do You Know Why Jibo Only Has 1 Eye?
Jibo’s eye is designed to convey a multitude of things and play an integral role in the skills developers build. So, if the eye is such an important piece of Jibo, why is there only one?
You’ve seen Jibo’s iconic white eye in all his photos and videos. The question is, do you know why Jibo’s design team went this direction?
To start, Jibo’s eye serves multiple functions. It plays an important role in projecting his character, and it provides an elegant interface to Jibo. The design team worked to come up with a design that could serve both well.
As you’ve seen, Jibo’s eye is a default white, the most basic of colors. We like to think of it as a blank canvas conveying a multitude of possibilities. This white also complements the color and sophisticated material of his body. It can of course change color to punctuate meaning in context.
Jibo’s eye is designed to be an elemental, morphable element (a shape shifter) that can change to represent and convey a multitude of things. See Jibo’s dance video to see this in action. His eye will be a playground for the developer community, playing an integral role in the skills (robot applications) they build.
From a social robotics perspective, Jibo’s eye is part of conveying his “soul”. People are captivated by eyes. His family will be looking into his eye to make an emotional connection. How Jibo’s eye moves and looks supports this. Jibo’s eye also supports the principles of animation like motion, squash, and stretch.
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Jibo’s eye couldn’t look too biological especially if people are expected to touch it when it serves the role of an interface. Who would want to poke Jibo in the eye? And it has been shown that people actually have a negative pain-related visceral reaction to the thought of poking or being poked in the eye. Jibo’s eye being more abstract mitigates this.
Many have asked “why does Jibo only have one eye?” Jibo’s design team’s perspective on this is that two eyes would make him have a more toy-like feel. Jibo is a member of the family not a toy. Two eyes are also more biological in feel. Getting back to the point above. Jibo’s single eye is framed nicely in his head and draws your attention from an interface perspective. It also enables you to interact with Jibo from a distance. Functionally Jibo’s eye needs to support navigation and convey the skill or mode Jibo is in. One eye serves the needs of an interactive interface in a way that two eyes cannot.
Jibo is unique in many ways. His eye is just one more example of this. A tremendous amount of thought and design has gone into Jibo to make him the world’s favorite social robot for the home.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Jibo’s blog.