Sony Corporation has announced that it will start selling dog-like robots for home use in the spring of 2018. This would be the company’s first foray into the consumer robotics market since it announced in 2006 that it would discontinue sales and development of its groundbreaking AIBO “home entertainment” robots.
The new product will be able to act as a virtual assistant and interface with smart home appliances like Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and Google Home, with the bonus of being able to move and behave like a real pet dog. Using the latest electronic components, the robot will supposedly be able to produce accurate dog-like movements, control home appliances by voice command, and will always be connected to the Internet.
Sony developed the operating system for the as yet un-named robot in-house but will allow outsider developers to make improvements to the OS.
The Nikkei reports that Sony aims to use its strength in mechanics to compete in the artificial intelligence market currently dominated by U.S. tech companies.
In 1999, Sony released the dog-like AIBO (Artificial Intelligence Robot) and introduced new models every year until 2005. AIBOs were marketed for home use as “Entertainment Robots”. They were also widely used by universities for educational purposes and research into robotics and human-robot interaction.
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.” (Wikipedia)
Sony discontinued AIBO in 2006 as part of its efforts to make the company profitable.
Top Photo: AIBO robot
Source: Nikkei shinbun online, October 8, 2017
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