AI News, Sony Bringing Back Aibo Team to Develop New Robot Dog

Sony Bringing Back Aibo Team to Develop New Robot Dog

When the Sony Aibo was discontinued in 2006, it was arguably the most sophisticated consumer robotthat you could get your hands on.

Sony is is trying to pull as many of them back together as possible, along with (we would guess) plenty of other people representing a decade or so of advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, and consumer electronics.

Here’s the really meaty bit from the article: The company’s first foray into the field will be a robotic pet, frolicking like a real dog while controlling home appliances at voice commands.

Aibo was so far ahead of its time that it was a toy, rather than a smart home robot, and we’re at the beginning of a much more potentially robust market for home robots.

We have to assume that Sony will be leaning heavily on the idea that Aibo will be a pet, not just a tool, to justify that additional cost, although there’s a slim chance that legs might allow Aibo to do things that other robots can’t, like climb stairs.

We’d like to believe that in addition to Aibo, Sony will be reinvesting in consumer robotics more generally—as many other large Japanese companies have recently discovered (including Toyota, Honda, and SoftBank), now is the time to do so, or they risk getting left behind.

Entertainment Robot "aibo" Announced

Tokyo - November 1, 2017 - Sony Corporation (Sony) is today proud to announce 'aibo,' the evolution of its autonomous entertainment robot that brings fun and joy to the entire family.

As the latest iteration of the beloved robotic companion, aibo features an adorable appearance, vibrant movements, and a responsiveness that is sure to delight.

These give aibo's compact body the freedom to move along a total of 22 axes and make its smooth, natural movements possible.

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.

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.

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. These

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

In addition to accessing system settings and owner information, other features include 'aibo Photos,' which lets users view any pictures taken, a feature to 'Play' with a virtual aibo inside the app, and the 'aibo Store,' where users can add additional Tricks to their aibo.


AIBO (Artificial Intelligence Robot, homonymous with aibō (相棒), 'pal' or 'partner' in Japanese) is a series of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony.

It also stopped development of the related QRIO robot.[5] Sony's AIBO customer support was withdrawn gradually, with support for the final ERS-7M3 ending in March 2013.[6] Some third party support is available, such as repair and battery refurbishment.

In 2006, AIBO was added into the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame with the description 'the Sony AIBO represents the most sophisticated product ever offered in the consumer robot marketplace.'[7] From July 2014, Sony no longer provide repairs for AIBO products and will not give any kind of customer support or repair for AIBO products.[8] Although repair services are no longer provided by Sony, there are AIBO communities that meet to help with repairs.

When Nobuyuki Idei became president of Sony in 1995, he sought to adopt a digital agenda, reflected in the new motto he gave the company, “Digital Dream Kids,” and the prominence he gave to CSL.[12] Famed engineer Dr. Toshitada Doi is credited as AIBO’s original progenitor: in 1994 he had started work on robots with artificial intelligence expert Masahiro Fujita within CSL.

Fujita would write that the robot's behaviors will need to “be sufficiently complex or unexpected so that people keep an interest in watching or taking care of it”.[13] Fujita argued that entertainment robots might be viable as 'A robot for entertainment can be effectively designed using various state-of-the-art technologies, such as speech recognition and vision, even though these technologies may not be mature enough for applications where they perform a critical function.

While there exists special and difficult requirements in entertainment applications themselves, limited capabilities in the speech and vision systems may turn out to be an interesting and attractive feature for appropriately designed entertainment robots.'

Fujita would later receive the IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production for 'AIBO, the world's first mass-market consumer robot for entertainment applications'.[14] In 1997 Doi received backing from Idei to form Sony’s Digital Creatures Lab.[15] Believing that robots would be commonplace in households by 2010, but aware of the shortcomings of available technology for functional uses, he decided to focus on robots for entertainment.

Doi then staged a mock funeral, attended by more than 100 colleagues from Sony.[16] At the funeral, Doi said that the Aibo was a symbol of a risk-taking spirit at Sony that was now dead.[17] In November 2017, Sony Corporation announced that AIBO would return with a new model that would be capable of forming an emotional bond with users.[18] A

2001 (Ears not included) 28.1 cm height, 1.5 kg weight, 1.5 hours continuous operation time, 20 degrees of freedom (drive unit), price 150 000 yen (excluding tax).

Height 29.6 cm, 1.5 kg weight, 1.5 hours continuous operation time, 16 degrees of freedom (drive unit), price 180 000 yen (excluding tax) Variants of ERS-210/220.

Requires an always-on internet connection to function fully and comes with an LTE SIM card and monthly subscription service to support interaction and learning in the cloud.[28] The humanoid QRIO robot was designed as the successor to AIBO, and runs the same base R-CODE and Aperios operating system.

The initial ERS-110 AIBO's hardware includes a 64-bit RISC processor, 16 megabytes of RAM, sensors (touch, camera, range-finder, microphone, acceleration, angular velocity), a speaker and actuators (legs, neck, mouth, tail).[29] As the series developed, more sensors and actuators were added.

Aperios OS was intended to be widely deployed using revolutionary real-time capabilities to handle multiple audio and visual data streams concurrently[34] The operating system was not widely adopted, and by 2003 Sony had stopped active development with COO Kunitake Ando commenting 'Aperios was an operating system of a pre-Internet age and we decided that it isn't adequate for the future'.[35] The OPEN-R architecture is specific to entertainment robots.

The architecture involves the use of modular hardware components, such as appendages that can be easily removed and replaced to change the shape and function of the robots, and modular software components that can be interchanged to change their behavior and movement patterns.

AIBO's creator, Doi, called OPEN-R the masterpiece of the AIBO development project, arguing it would minimize the need for programming individual movements or responses, and its 'open' nature would encourage a global community of robot specialists and programmers to add capability.[15] First and second generation models of AIBO can load different software packages sold by Sony.

In a significant copyright milestone, Sony invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in October 2001, and sent a cease-and-desist notice demanding that 'Aibopet' stop distributing code that was retrieved by bypassing the copy protection mechanisms.[42][43][44] In the face of complaints by many outraged AIBO owners,[45] Sony backed down and subsequently released a programmer's kit for 'non-commercial' use.[46] The kit was eventually expanded into three distinct tools: R-CODE, the OPEN-R SDK and the AIBO Remote Framework (ERS-7 only).

R-CODE has been extended to R-CODE plus by Aibopet[47] Aibnet offers a development environment for R-Code programming.[48] Simplified drag-and-drop customizing of behavior is available via the user-created YART ('Yet Another RCode Tool ')[49] Remotely access capabilities of AIBO MIND including behaviors and pattern recognition from a Windows PC.

For example, Carnegie Mellon offered an AIBO-centred robotics course covering models of perception, cognition, and action for solving problems.[52] The AIBO has seen much use as an inexpensive platform for artificial intelligence education and research, because it integrates a computer, vision system, and articulators in a package vastly cheaper than conventional research robots.

When AIBO was introduced, The New Yorker published a cartoon by Jack Ziegler showing AIBO 'urinating' nuts and bolts on a fire hydrant.[55] The AIBO ERS-210 was used in Janet Jackson's 'Doesn't Really Matter' music video, and received increased market demand and commercial success after being featured with Jackson in the clip.[56] In an episode of Frasier, Frasier gives his dad an AIBO ERS-210 to keep him company while he is visiting Roz in Wisconsin.

Sony Revives it’s Aibo Line With New Robot Puppy

The most popular was the Aibo ERS 2010, which was capable of displaying different emotions as well as making complex limb movements.

They have become more advanced, acquiring new ways and tricks to imitate real pets.

With a price tag of around $1,700 plus a monthly subscription of $26 (for a minimum of 3 years), I am not sure how well it could have sold in the US despite its cute abilities.

WowWee Chip, which is one of the best robot dogs (read our Chip robot dog review), sells for less than $200.

It can wag it’s tail, scratch it’s ears and turn its head in different directions.

Its two eyes are actually OLED panels that can display different emotions depending on the situation such as when you are scratching its head.

In a news briefing, Kazuo Hirai the CEO of Sony said, “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 realize Sony‘s mission.” $1,700 is just the base price.

The subscription gives you access to more features in an accompanying app, cloud backup, WiFi and LTE connectivity.

Not many will be willing to pay a monthly subscription for a robot puppy, not to mention the already high initial cost.


There is no greater testament to Sony's achievement with the $1,899 (list) Sony AIBO ERS-7M2 entertainment robot than people's responses when it leaves the room.

Thanks to new software, Sony takes its year-old AIBO ERS-7 robot dog (now available in either white or black) and transforms it into a truly lifelike companion that can also help you get a few things done.

In addition, its 20 motors have been fine-tuned, along with its ability to sense its environment, to create fluid, realistic motion and response that nearly mimic those of a real dog.

Accessing some of its best new features—remote-control capabilities, e-mail, and music library playback—all hinge on the user's ability to set up AIBO as a wireless device.

Since the AIBO acts as a media hub in this mode, the quality of your wireless connection becomes a significant issue, and music playback was sometimes choppy when the AIBO toddled just out of range of our access point.

We were also able to use the Entertainment Player's remote interface to type content into a text-to-speech window and see through the camera on the front of the AIBO's snout, and even listen through its ears and project our voice through the robot.

UtilityAIBO can now collect and read your e-mail, but even though we entered our POP3 mail account info, the AIBO was never able to access the account or send e-mail to any address we specified.

In this mode, the AIBO can take time-lapse images (at 416- by 320-pixel resolution) of activity in your house over a period of 8 hours, which it is then supposed to e-mail to you.

(In this, as in other modes, the AIBO speaks in a human voice to walk you through the necessary steps for House Sitting mode.) We could never get it to e-mail the photos as promised, but we were able to access them by removing its Memory Stick, inserting it into the reader attached to my PC, and using AIBO's desktop software.

We were able to access the WMV file the AIBO created out of all the captured images and watch a replay of the previous afternoon, right up until we came home and took the AIBO off House Sitting mode.

(We never needed a manual to understand the emotions of real dogs.) Despite the difficulty of setup for some features and the issues with finding its charger, we're still impressed with Sony's achievement.

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