Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Sony's AI Robot Dog Aibo Is Back

Sony Corp’s President and Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai holds entertainment robot ‘aibo’ at a news conference in Tokyo Sony aibo robot dog returns, finally looks, moves like a dog
Derrick Tucker | 02 November, 2017, 00:48

Sony's revealed a redesigned version of its Aibo project, the robotic dog of yesteryear.

To develop new profit drivers, the firm has also boosted investment in artificial intelligence and is expanding its consumer products portfolio. The price tag is still every bit as astronomical as it was in the early 2000s, mind, with a Japanese RRP of around £1,300.

It has OLED screens for eyes for the display of a diverse range of emotions and a camera in the nose that can snap photos.

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.

Japan's Sony Corp said yesterday it has brought back AIBO more than a decade since it last made the robotic dog, as the electronics and entertainment firm seeks to rebuild its reputation for innovation after years of restructuring.

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Sony is adding another robot dog to its litter.

Aibo, like any new puppy, will be a bit timid at first and unsure of its surroundings, but as it becomes more accustomed to the home it lives in, will gain more confidence to go searching new areas.

"It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics", Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said at a news briefing. AI start up called Cogitai that focuses on technology allowing machines to learn autonomously and continually from interaction in the real world.

Sony is aiming to sell more of the devices, exceeding the previous generation's 150,000 units, according to Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president. "I asked our engineers a year and a half ago to develop Aibo because I strongly believe robots capable of building loving relationships with people help realise Sony's mission (to inspire)". It also established a venture capital fund to build partnerships with researchers and start-up companies in AI and robotics.

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