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Wednesday, November 01, 2017
Sony Revives the AIBO Robot Dog

Sony announced aibo, an entertainment robot capable of forming an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with 'affection,' and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion.

The original AIBO launched in 1999. Now, Sony has refined its AI and robotics technology to deliver its successor, aibo. This evolved model features an adorable appearance, vibrant movements, and responsiveness. To make all of this possible, aibo is equipped with Sony's proprietary ultracompact actuators, a variety of sensors, deep learning technology for sensing and analyzing images and sounds, and AI technology that connects aibo to the cloud.

aibo shows its 'love' for its owners through lifelike expressions and a dynamic array of movements. Its body language is expressed through a combination of eye, ear, and tail movements as well as different voice sounds.

In order to bring aibo to life and allow it to express its emotions, Sony developed ultracompact 1- and 2-axis actuators. These give aibo's compact body the freedom to move along a total of 22 axes and make its natural movements possible. Furthermore, its eyes utilize two OLEDs to allow for diverse, nuanced expressions.

Not content with merely waiting around to be called, curious little aibo will actively seek out its owners. What's more, aibo can detect words of praise, smiles, head and back scratches, petting, and more, allowing it to learn and remember what actions make its owners happy. Slowly, aibo will also become more aware of its environment, and as it gains confidence it will learn to walk around an increasingly wider area and respond to situations accordingly.

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

Further, with its owners' permission, aibo can collect data from interactions, then connect to the cloud and access the knowledge accumulated from interactions between different owners and their aibo to become even more clever.

An aibo Basic Plan subscription is necessary to utilize aibo. By subscribing to the aibo Basic Plan, you can use a Wi-Fi connection at home or a mobile connection on the go to enjoy the full arrange of aibo features. These include aibo being able to access information stored in the cloud to grow and learn as well as the "My aibo" app (aibo Photos, aibo Store). Additionally, your aibo's data will periodically be backed up in the cloud. A planned future service will allow owners to restore this backed up data onto a new aibo even in the event of an accident resulting in irreparable damage.

Sony is also providing aibo Support Care, which offers discounts on repair fees in the event of damage or malfunctions. Subscription to this service is optional.

aibo will be available for purchase exclusively through the Sony Store, Sony's direct retailer. Pre-orders will be available starting from November 1, 2017 through the Sony Store website.
Sales begin in Japan in January for 198,000 yen ($1,739).

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