Sony's AI Robot Dog Aibo Is Back

Mandy Carr
November 2, 2017

But now it's back with computer smarts that not only provide the new Aibo dog with the ability to respond to human commands, but loads the robot with fish-eye cameras and a suite of embedded sensors so it can better figure out what's going on around it through sound and sight.

The announcement for AIBO comes a day after the company's announcement that they foresee its highest-ever profit for 2017, bolstering its shares to a nine-year high.

Proprietary actuators allow smooth freedom of movement along 22 axes, meaning that head, mouth, neck, legs and paws, ears and tail can all move to the groove while OLED eyes offer "lifelike" expressiveness.

In a news briefing to introduce AIBO, Sony's Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said "It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics".

Unfortunately, it won't be released in time for the holidays - it's due out on January 11, 2018 - and no plans for availability outside of Japan have been announced. Japanese electronics giant Sony's Aibo pet is making a return after more than a decade away.

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The "latest iteration of the beloved robotic companion" is built around a 64-bit quad-core brain, with deep learning technology seeing the aibo developing "its own unique personality through everyday interactions as it grows closer and closer to its owners".

Sony said it aims to sell at least as many new Aibo as the original, without giving a timeframe, and that it sees AI as a key pillar of future growth, hoping to catch up with the likes of Alphabet's Google, Apple and Facebook. AIBO is billed as a pet that behaves like a real dog using artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and interact with its owner and surroundings.

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. It invested an undisclosed sum past year in Cogitai, a U.S. Two months later, it started a venture capital fund called Sony Innovation Fund aiming at A.I. and robotics startups.

Sony's cutesy toy robot dog first appeared in 1999 before being, ahem, "sent to a farm" in 2006.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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