Boston robotics startup Jibo caught the imagination of the press and public last year when its creators claimed its chatty social robot, at once a companion and entertainer, could one day be reading bedtime stories to kids.
In perhaps a step towards that future, the company has “acqui-hired” most of the team behind CloudKid, a Brighton animation studio that has produced videos and games for outlets such as Nickelodeon and Sesame Street.
CloudKid announced the partnership in a blog post Tuesday. “While the decision is a bittersweet one … Jibo has the potential to positively transform our relationship to technology in the home, classroom and beyond, and for that reason we feel like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” CloudKid’s founders Matt Karl and Dave Schlafman wrote.
Though the specific applications that the team will be working on have yet to be determined, the mission is to “make Jibo really engaging for the family,” said Schlafman. “Everybody and their mother are creating content for iPads, digital video platforms, and this was an opportunity to do something really different.”
CloudKid was launched in 2009 and has created content for outfits including Scholastic and Cartoon Network. Fizzy’s Lunch, a series the company created in partnership with PBS Kids, received three Emmy nominations.
Jibo, founded in 2013 by human-robot interaction researcher Cynthia Breazeal, is planning to ship its first models next year. The company raised $3 million from aspiring robot owners on Kickstarter, and $36 million in venture capital funding from investors including tech outfits Samsung Ventures and Acer.