Sony brings Aibo back from the dead

Phillip Butler
November 2, 2017

Sony is banking on the "irresistible cuteness" of its new robot dog to win over consumers. Shares in Sony Corp have soared to a nine-year high and the company has forecast record earnings, some 20 per cent above its current profit record set two decades ago.

The new version (which Sony is marketing as "aibo" instead of the prior "AIBO") comes equipped with a powerful computer chip, OLED displays for eyes and the ability to connect to mobile networks.

In a news briefing to introduce AIBO, Sony's Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said "It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics".

The connected canine will only be available in Japan, and will cost around 198,000 Yen (around $1700, £1,300 or AU$2250).


In 1999, Sony was seen to be at the cutting edge of robotic technology with its Aibo series.

Sony is aiming to sell more of the devices, exceeding the previous generation's 150,000 units, according to Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president.

The reborn AIBO features new actuator technology allowing it move more smoothly and naturally like a real dog. With its new sensing and AI technologies, AIBO can also run towards its owner and detect smiles and praises. Owners can also sync "Aibo" with a smartphone application called "My Aibo", which allows them to play with the robot dog remotely. In 2006, Sony stopped its production of Aibo robots. It can also identify the position of objects in a room and do not forget to avoid them. Furthermore, Sony has invested in a U.S. The time is nigh for a comeback, says Sony boss Kaz Hirai, as a ideal storm of better battery life, internet connectivity and the chance to put the modern buzzwords "artificial" and "intelligence" on the thing's box has arrived. Earlier this year, Sony Education launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks. The firm also established a venture capital fund to build partnerships with AI start ups and robotics as well as researchers.

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