Jibo SDK Program Update December 2016

Jonathan Ross
December 22, 2016

One very wise community member shared with us that transparency isn’t about giving a release date but rather being open about milestones and what’s happening along the way. With that spirit in mind, I wanted to give you an update on where we are with releasing the next version of the Jibo SDK. In my last blog post I said our target was end of year, but as you’ve probably already figured out, we are going to be pushing the update into next year.

To start, here’s the “why” behind the delay. We are building a full technology stack, that includes all the software that makes Jibo who he is, the SDK, and Jibo’s hardware. If there is anyone out there that can appreciate the complexity of what we are doing, it is you our developer community. As a Series A start up, our team is small, especially relative to the challenge of building a first-of-its-kind social robot. We leverage this team across multiple layers of the stack, which necessarily means the SDK does not yet have a dedicated team. While in some ways that creates obstacles (i.e., publicly updating our SDK), it does have the benefit of producing a highly integrated product.

So what has the Jibo team been up to since my last update? Coming out of our Beta test, we learned a lot. If you have seen our little guy in action, I think you’d agree that there is some amazing stuff happening. That said, we weren’t 100% satisfied with some of the basic functionality, such as latency in turn-taking and face recognition, and we know we can do better. Elements of this basic functionality touch on the full stack I mentioned earlier, so folks largely working on the SDK have had to turn their attention, at least in part, back to the robot. With one team building both Jibo and his SDK, we are always weighing the options and trade-offs, but we hope you will agree that getting the robot right is hugely important.

During this same timeframe, we have in fact discovered and fixed a fair number of bugs that were realized, as we saw our own skills run on robot. We also have evolved our release process, one which will enable more rapid iteration of the SDK going forward. Jibo and the Jibo SDK are becoming increasingly stable. On the milestone front, here’s what we have left to do before pushing the next SDK release out to you:

Full QA and regression for Mac and Windows
Upgrade to Node v6
Upgrade to Electron 1.0
Completion of an externally facing version of our internal docs

While we are behind where we’d like to be on getting you the updated SDK, we have made progress on some of the other things we committed to in the last program update. These include starting up our Expert Connects series, getting you up to speed on the new features of the SDK via the blog along with tutorials, providing a newsletter specific to developers, forging ahead with our Metro Gatherings (our first was in Austin, TX and the next will be in San Francisco), and introducing our Jibo Online Learning program, which is being recorded as I write this.

Bringing Jibo to market and to you as the first platform with this type of personality is a journey. We truly value the developers that will take Jibo to the next level in terms of capabilities and usefulness to the users that will be his family. Thank you for all the patience you continue to extend to us.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year, as we continue this journey together.

As always let us know if you have any questions or comments in our developer forum https://discuss.jibo.com/t/new-blog-post-jibo-sdk-program-update-december-2016/1480

J Ross

Jonathan Ross
Head of SDK

Jonathan Ross combines his love of AI, tooling, art and animation pipelines, and system integration at Jibo, Inc., taking the tricks of the video game industry and applying them to the arena of social robotics.  He has built a team of talented engineers, who are responsible for developing the Jibo SDK, which enables developers to create complex and richly interactive skills (robot applications). He has a background in electrical computer engineering and computational neuroscience.  His career started in e-learning, quickly transitioning to video games.  Jonathan was a lead engineer at Disney on World of Cars Online, a fully immersive 3D virtual world for kids.  He rolled his own custom physics engine, implemented multiplayer racing, and architected its AI scripting system.  While at Disney, he was also part of a toys-of-the-future think tank called ToyMorrow, exploring how toys could become more connected.  Prior to joining Jibo, Inc., Jonathan worked at Zynga, where he worked on and built some of Zynga’s largest and most popular social games including Café World, CityVille, and ChefVille and built Zynga’s UI and localization system, used on many of Zynga’s games.