Sony revives Aibo robot dog after 11 years

02 November, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • Sony Corp’s entertainment robot ‘aibo’ approaches its staff at a news conference in Tokyo

And it said that it was reviving its robot dog AIBO that first hit the shelves in the late 1990's.

To develop new profit drivers, the firm has also boosted investment in artificial intelligence and is expanding its consumer products portfolio. It has flapping black ears and a wagging tail. Aibo has the ability to roll its eyes to display emotions.

Aibo will be released in Japan in January 2018 with a price of JPY198,000 ($1,738).

"It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics", Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said at a news briefing. The upgraded Aibo is now packed with an array of sensors, cameras, microphones and internet connectivity, as well as far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog's personality. Over the following years, more than 150,000 units were sold. Though it wasn't a great leap to visualize a beagle-like pooch in the boxy form of the original aibo companion robot, subsequent models did at least smooth away some of the harsh lines to become more dog-like.

The comeback of Aibo is not only good news to pet owners, but also a declaration of Sony's transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer to a leading voice in A.I.

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The biggest change to aibo is that the new iteration will be more intelligent and proactively interact with its owner.

The company has pumped resources into the technology, teaming up with USA firm Cogitai and launching a venture capital fund a year ago focused on investing in AI and robotics startups around the world.

The technology is based on work done by Cogitai, a California-based startup developing AI software that learns continually from real-world interactions. It also established a venture capital fund to build partnerships with researchers and start-up companies in AI and robotics.

The electronics giant has announced plans for a new and improved version of the AI robot dog, which went out of production in 2006.

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