Roomba hunts dust bunnies. Autom helps you shed pounds.
But Jibo wants to be the first multi-purpose robot for your home — a countertop assistant that can snap family photos, remind you of the day's schedule, relay messages, entertain children with interactive stories, and facilitate videoconferences. The $499 product is being unveiled today, but won't be available until late in 2015.
Read MoreHave we got a deal for you...Coming soon: Two more apps that will serve up location-specific offers
How many times have you heard this scenario pitched: You're walking down Newbury Street looking for lunch, when suddenly your phone chimes with a geographically-relevant offer. If you go just one block down, you can get 25 percent off lunch at a new French bistro (your favorite cuisine!)
Read MoreHanging up the checkbookWith new CRV fund, long-time partner Bruce Sachs bows out
When George Takei — social media star, equal rights crusader, and the former helmsman of the starship Enterprise — asks you about the most interesting places to visit to get a sense for innovation in Boston, that's an e-mail you respond to pretty fast. Takei was planning a trip here in May to shoot several new episodes of his YouTube series "Takei's Take," and I suggested he drop by places like Rethink Robotics, which sells a new kind of manufacturing robot, and Bluebird Bio, a Cambridge biotech developing new kinds of gene therapies for rare diseases. The first episode he shot on that trip just showed up on YouTube yesterday.
Read MoreNew VC star?Procyon Ventures, focusing on data and analytics, is newest venture firm in Cambridge
Cambridge may soon get a second shared laboratory space for life sciences companies in the shadow of the Genzyme building in Kendall Square. And one of the people behind the Mass Innovation Labs project says that it will be different from — and possibly larger than — LabCentral, which opened late last year with financial backing from the state's Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.
Bedrock Data was born as a "nights and weekends" project at HubSpot, the Cambridge digital marketing firm. Bedrock's founders observed how complicated it was to craft connections between various software-as-a-service applications so that data from one could be synchronized with another. While still working at HubSpot, they incorporated Bedrock as a company in mid-2012 so they could start accepting credit cards for the service they'd built — focused on simplifying the process of building those links between applications. But Bedrock's founders didn't depart HubSpot until last year, when they were convinced that their new venture's revenues could support them.
Read MoreLet's do lunch...Wyth app, from Fiksu and Vlingo veterans, wants to help manage your calendar
Here's another video from our Entrepreneurs Grill series, shot a few months back. This one features Corey Mack, co-founder and CEO of Laforge Optical. The company is working on a more stylish eyeglass-integrated display, with software that interacts with an iPhone. Laforge's Icis glases can also support prescription lenses.
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and the Convergence Forum. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.