Sony revives Aibo robot dog after 11 years
Sony is to breathe new life into its Aibo robotic dog, releasing a new - and much cuter - version more than a decade after shelving its original line of tech pets.
The Japanese robot-dog can respond to human actions and voice commands and bark, sit and wag its tail and play. Aibo can also learn actions that keep its users happy, while users will be able to connect the dog to the cloud to let it learn further actions from other Aibo dogs.
Sony's original Aibo was one of the first artificial intelligence products built for ordinary consumers, first released in 1999. Aibo, a meaning partner in Japanese (but which neatly also stands for AI bot), had new models released every year until 2005.
The futuristic family pet preceded smartphones and apps and was used both as a domestic toy and in research projects exploring human and AI interaction.
The original featured lifelike, if slightly slow and clunky, movements and used computer vision to interact with the world around it.
However, Sony ultimately stopped production of Aibo in 2006 after it was forced to slash its product line-up in a cost-cutting exercise.
But the robot remained an early icon of future homes, and Sony briefly revived the dog for use in its Xperia phone marketing campaigns.
Aibo will have OLED eyes, stand a foot tall, weigh two kilograms, have a two-hour battery life and start at 198, 000 Yen (£1, 300). It will also set users back a monthly subscription fee worth around £20 per month. Aibo will only be available in Japan.
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