Sony's Aibo robot dog is back and smarter than ever

Posted November 02, 2017

Aibo stands for Artificial Intelligence Robot, a pioneer project of Sony.

The two announcements came one day after Sony forecasted a historical-high profit this year in its second-quarter (ending September 30) financial report.

According to a statement made by Sony: "Aibo can form an emotional bond with new members of the household while providing them with love, affection and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion".

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"It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics", chief executive Kazuo Hirai said at a news briefing.

The connected canine will only be available in Japan, and will cost around 198,000 Yen (around $1700, £1,300 or AU$2250).

Aibo weighs 2.2 kilograms (4.85 pounds), has ivory white skin and black ears that pull slightly back when you pet him, and can follow you around the house and fetch a ball. "What's more, Aibo can detect words of praise, smiles, head and back scratches, petting, and more, allowing it to learn and remember what actions make its owners happy", said Sony.

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The original AIBO was released in 1999 and at least 150,000 dogs were sold before production was stopped due to the downturn of Sony's core consumer electronics business against Asian rivals due to product prices.

Aibo, like any new puppy, will be a bit timid at first and unsure of its surroundings, but as it becomes more accustomed to the home it lives in, will gain more confidence to go searching new areas. Other than that it comes with cameras, microphones, boasts internet connectivity and an array of sensors.

The robot can also record and take photos of what it experiences, according to its owner's preferences, and can create a database of memories. Furthermore, Sony has invested in a U.S. AI start-up focusing on technology that allows machines to learn continually and autonomously from interaction in the real world. Earlier this year, Sony Education launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks.

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