Sony's Aibo robotic dog is back, with new tricks for AI era


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

Sony also adds that they believe AI technology is a future pillar of growth and they hope to catch up with major technology companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google to develop AI technology.

However, Sony continued their development in AI and robotics to develop a newly improved AIBO to show consumers the company's mission to inspire and build loving relationships just like a dog would to its owner. It has the ability to roll its eyes to display emotions. It will go on sale in Japan in January, priced at ¥198,000 ($1,740) before tax.

Sony is bringing back its iconic robotic dog, aibo. Aside from facial expressions, Aibo can hear and understand words of praise, eventually learning which actions make its owner happy - much like training a real puppy. The upgraded Aibo is now packed with an array of sensors, cameras, microphones and internet connectivity, as well as far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog's personality. Aibo requires an additional subscription plan to work, which is available for 90,000 Yen ($790) one-time fee for a three year plan, or 2980 Yen ($26) a month for 36 months. 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.

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The reborn AIBO features new actuator technology allowing it move more smoothly and naturally like a real dog.

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".

"It eventually becomes able to respond to its owners' affection", Sony wrote in a news release.

Earlier this year, Sony's education arm launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through building and programming robots using plastic blocks.