The consumer tech giant decided to revive an old favorite last year, when it announced the Japan-only release of a new aibo robotic companion. Now a "First Litter Edition" of the cutesy pup will be making its way to US shores as a limited bundle.
This latest version represents the sixth generation of Sony's once insanely popular robot pet and marries modern robotics with a cloud-based AI engine and advanced image sensors. This is reported to give aibo the ability to learn, recognize faces and – as time goes on – develop its own unique personality. This essentially means that no two robot pups will grow up to be exactly the same, as its development will be influenced by the approach of its carers.
Rather than sit in a corner and wait to be petted and played with, the new aibo will go looking for people to interact with around the house. Its suite of 1- and 2-axis actuators allow the pooch freedom of movement over 22 axes, and aibo is able to express itself by wagging its tail, moving its ears and making full use of its two OLED eyes. Oh yes, and it can yap. Its sensors are able to recognize spoken phrases and its cameras register smiles – allowing it to remember what kind of interactions appear to make its carers happy.
"aibo's charming personality, dog-like behaviors and ability to intelligently interact with family members help to create a personal bond," said Mike Fasulo of Sony US. "Bringing aibo back to the US reflects Sony's broader commitment to provide consumers with products that not only entertain them, but also enrich their lives."
The aibo bundle will include the autonomous robot pup, a 3 year AI Cloud Plan, an assortment of toys for the doggy to play with (such as a pink ball and a big ol' bone) and a numbered dog tag. It will go on sale next month for US$2,899 and Sony says it will be delivered in time for the holidays.
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