Sony Launched a New Aibo Pet Robot

Sony Launched a New Aibo Pet Robot

The rumors had it right: Sony is rebooting its robot dog, Aibo, announcing a new four-legged companion AI-powered bot incoming with the same brand name but more rounded corners and visible facial features for extra kawaii, including a pair of expressive, puppy-dog eyes. In a bid to break into the growing artificial intelligence market, Sony is aiming to steal a march on the likes of Alphabet's Google, Apple and Facebook with the revival of Aibo.

The new Aibo will act and behave more like a real dog than ever before, so rather than just sitting and waiting to be called by its owners, it will put its curiosity hat on and go searching around the home. The price tag is still every bit as astronomical as it was in the early 2000s, mind, with a Japanese RRP of around £1,300.

The new Aibo also has OLED eyes which Sony noted will allow it to give more nuanced and diverse expressions. It's going to be huge among wealthy social media influencers. These include access to photos taken by aibo and to an aibo store where owners can download apps, as well as a virtual version of aibo they can control with a smartphone. Sales begin in Japan in January for 198,000 yen ($1,739). The technology is based on work done by Sony-backed Cogitai Inc., an Anaheim, California-based startup developing AI software that learns continually from real-world interactions.

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Aibo is a rebooted version of a device Sony first launched in the 1990s - and the Japanese company has made it appealingly un-robotic. 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. It could bark, sit up, lie down, wag its tail and play with toy balls.

Sony is adding another robot dog to its litter. The new upgrade to AIBO's interface enables AIBO to sense and identify movement, and it now possesses an advanced AI supported by a cloud computing technology that would help the dog develop its personality.

Apart from the cost of the new aibo, all users will be required to sign up for a service plan of ¥90,000 upfront for three years, or ¥2,980 month-by-month. That's not the only pun.

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