Sony Aibo: Robot dog can 'love' you and 'keep records of everything' it sees you do

The electronic pet has two hours of battery life

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 01 November 2017 15:59 GMT
Sony brings back Aibo dog

Sony has resurrected Aibo, the robot dog it stopped selling back in 2006.

The electronic, internet-connected pet has been updated with modern components and been given a brand new look, which the company describes as “adorable” and “irresistible”.

It’s autonomous, meaning it can wander around your home on its own, and Sony says it can “develop its own unique personality” and also show “love and affection”.

Aibo features power and volume buttons, two cameras, speakers and four microphones.

It measures 180 × 293 × 305mm, weighs approximately 2.2kg and has a battery that lasts for two hours. The dog takes three hours to charge back up again when it runs flat.

Sony says it loves the colour pink and can learn new tricks, but dislikes heights and tight spaces.

“Aibo can form an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with love, affection, and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion,” says Sony.

“It possesses a natural curiosity, and we hope it will bring joy into the everyday lives of our customers while growing alongside them as a partner.”

Aibo can change its facial expressions and exhibit a “dynamic array” of eye, ear and tail movements.

It can also make a variety of noises and recognise and respond to your voice commands, smiles, head and back scratches and petting.

“This adaptable behavior is made possible through Sony's well-cultivated deep learning technology, in the form of inbuilt sensors that can detect and analyze sounds and images,” Sony explains.

“Aibo also comes with fish-eye cameras that utilize simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technology, allowing it to lead its life in close conjunction with its owners.”

However, despite its cute appearance, there is a potentially creepy side to Aibo too.

It will collect data from every interaction it has with you and keep "records of everything it experiences" in day-to-day life. It will also connect to the cloud and “access the knowledge accumulated from interactions between different owners and their Aibo to become even more clever,” Sony says.

However, this will require your permission.

“It eventually becomes able to respond to its owners' affection in kind, and when it feels loved, it will display even more love and affection in return, nurturing a bond that only deepens as time goes on,” the company continues.

Aibo is available for pre-order today, but only to consumers in Japan. It costs 198,000 yen (£1,300) plus a monthly subscription fee of 2,980 yen (£20), and will start shipping on 11 January 2018.

Sony is also selling an electronic bone accessory alongside it, called the Aibone.

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