Economy, Sci & Tech

Sony’s Aibo Gives Love, Affection and Joy

Aibo is priced at $1,730.
Aibo is priced at $1,730.

Sony on Wednesday revived its robot dog, Aibo, which it put down, so to speak, in 2006.

The autonomous entertainment robot brings fun and joy to the entire family, Sony claimed, Tech News World Reported.

Among other things, it can bond emotionally with people and give them love and affection, the company said.

Aibo also lets them experience the joy of nurturing and raising a companion, according to Sony.

Aibo has ultra-impact 1- and 2-axis actuators that let it move smoothly and naturally along 22 axes.

The eyes have OLEDs to allow for diverse, nuanced expressions, Sony said. Aibo also shows “emotions” through tail and ear movements.

“Aibo is nice in the sense that you remove all the burdens of ownership and gain the benefits,” observed Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“You don’t have to take it out for a walk and deal with pooper scoopers; you don’t have to feed it,” he told Tech News World. “The only thing you really have to do is charge its batteries.”

Aibo has an awareness of its environment, thanks to sensors that can detect and analyze sounds and images, and deep learning technology.

Its eyes are fisheye cameras that use simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technology. It also has a front camera. Aibo has a speaker and four microphones.

It can detect words of praise and smiles. Capacitive touch sensors in the head, jaw and back enable it to respond to petting and scratching, too.

When given love and affection, it gives it back through AI technology that interfaces with Sony’s cloud.

However, “robots can only simulate the appearance of love,” noted Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“You would not expect an Aibo to throw itself in front of an oncoming car to save your life, while a real dog might,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Aibo’s data periodically will be backed up in the cloud. The goal is to make it available to load onto a new Aibo in the future.

Aibo communicates over LTE or WiFi. It comes with charging pins and a SIM card slot. The battery lasts about two hours, and recharging takes three hours.

It will be available in January from the Sony store -- but only in Japan. It is priced at about $1,730 exclusive of tax.

Purchasers will have to pay for a basic three-year subscription plan as well, at $790 up front or $26 a month.

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