Sony brings its AI-infused robotic dog Aibo back from the dead

Janie Parker
November 2, 2017

The developers of the new model of robot-dog said that in honor of the previous models, the novelty will receive the name Aibo, and among the innovations there is a constant Internet connection and smart control electronic devices in the house. It has the ability to roll its eyes to display emotions. It has a camera in its cute little nose too.

The new Aibo will be priced at 198,000 JPY (around $1,733), but buyers will also need to purchase a three-year subscription plan, priced at 90,000 JPY ($788), to use it. Pre-orders kick off today and the pup is slated to arrive on January 11.

Sony's new aibo is up for pre-order in Japan today for ¥198,000 (about US$1,700), though a subscription plan will also be needed to fully utilize the robot dog - costing a further ¥2,980 per month (or ¥90,000 for 3 years).

Sony eventually neutered Aibo production facilities in 2006, leading to an exodus of robotics and AI expertise. Sony's announcement came a day after it forecast record earnings, leading to a nine-year high in its share price. It will also be web-enabled, to support more complex cloud-driven capabilities.

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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".

The technology is based on work done by Cogitai, a California-based startup developing AI software that learns continually from real-world interactions. Aside from AIBO, Sony has released Koov early this year, an AI that can help teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks. Sony said it aims to sell at least as many new AIBO as the original, without giving a time frame. The firm also established a venture capital fund to build partnerships with AI start ups and robotics as well as researchers.

Note that the name of the electronic pet is a combination of the concepts "friend" and "artificial intelligence", by combining which, the developers got the name of the robot-dog - Aibo.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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