The Return of Aibo, the Smart Dog Signals Sony’s Future Direction

Sony is returning into the spotlight as the leading robotics brand.

Human hand pets a Sony robotic dog Aibo.
Human hand pets a Sony robotic dog Aibo.

Aibo is Back

Sony re-introduced Aibo, the robotic smart dog launched in 1999 and discontinued in 2006. Aibo is the Japanese word for “pal”. It is also a shortened term for artificial intelligence robot. This time it has a lot more features. Renewed puppy combines artificial intelligence, robotics and sensor technology into one cute little bundle. The adorable Aibo can bark, respond to touch, recognize his humans, detect praise and smiles and learn tricks.

The dog is endowed with cloud-powered artificial intelligence and can remember up to one hundred faces. It has touch sensors throughout its body and a camera on its back and nose. A range of sensors prevents it from walking into things.

Despite a fairly hefty price tag, Sony has sold more than twenty thousand Aibos since the launch. Now Sony Is sending its “first litter” to the USA.

Sony president and chief operating officer Mike Fasulo called Aibo a “true expression of the brand”.

The Smartest and Most Lifelike Version

This is the sixth Aibo model and its the smartest and most lifelike version yet. It is equipped with a powerful integrated computer and image sensors. It has large, expressive OLED eyes that blink, grow drowsy and shine with anger.

The dog comes complete with toys, an individualized nametag, and a charger. Information from the robot is loaded via Wi-Fi into Sony’s cloud. The cloud subscription and Wi-Fi costs for three years form part of the package when you buy your dog.

The data collected to the cloud helps to develop the dog’s personality over time. Molded by the way their owners treat them, no two Aibos have the same temperament.  The dog remembers what actions make its owners happy, which helps the dog and owner to develop strong emotional bonds.

Boasting more than 4000 parts and twenty-two actuators, Aibo can move on 22 axes, which helps it to behave like a real dog. Access the video feed from the onboard camera and you have a watchdog. This is the ultimate low maintenance pet. It even puts itself to bed on its charging station when the batteries run low.

Sony is Making a Come-Back

Sony was once renowned for its state of the art electronics including the Walkman and the Discman. As newer electronics companies such as Apple and Samsung introduced more innovative technology, Sony lost its edge in many of the sectors where once it had dominated.

With the reintroduction of Aibo Sony reminds the world that it is still a major contender in the fields of electronics, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The Aibo launch comes hot on the heels of a rebound in Sony’s financial fortunes a result of Play Station’s increased sales.

Sony president and chief operating officer Mike Fasulo called Aibo a “true expression of the brand”. In the past, Sony had failed to properly merge its various divisions. It made beautiful hardware that didn’t work as well as the product manufactured by rivals Samsung and Apple, causing it to lose support.

Sony is looking forward to a future in the development of robotics for businesses and homes. The company can leverage its expertise in the electronics and entertainment sectors to build a whole new future.

Today’s “otsumami” – a bite size snack:

The reintroduction of Aibo is Sony’s reminder to the world that the company is still a major contender in the areas of electronics, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

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