Robots dogs that are no longer supported by Sony, which made them, are being laid to rest in funerals in Japan.
The dog, known as Aibo, was released in 1999 with the promise of being able to learn and express itself, so that it would develop a personality. And while they were popular for some time, Sony discontinued the dogs in 2006, and stopped repairing them in July 2014.
Some businesses have been set up to repair the dogs, and are keeping them alive. But with a shortage of spare parts, some of the dogs are dying entirely and so are holding funerals to say goodbye to them.
Mourners recently held a funeral for 19 of the dogs, at an altar at the Kofuku-ji temple in China prefecture. The Aibos were taken to A-Fun, a repair company, in the hope of saving them — but the company had to lead a funeral for those that could not be revived.
The funerals are important for the dogs’ owners, who can develop deep attachments to the dogs.
“I can’t imagine how quiet our living room would have been if Ai-chan wasn’t here,” Sumie Maekawa, an Aibo owner, told The Wall Street Journal.
The name Aibo stands for artificiallly intelligent robot. They cost up to £1300, roughly, until they were discontinued as Sony wanted to concentrate more on its core businesses.
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