Sony Revives AI Project with AIBO

02 November, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • Sony had to put its previous version of the dog down when its business struggledMore

Maybe that's why Sony is bringing its robotic dog Aibo back from the dead. 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. The eyes of the AI is made up of OLED displays to enable the pet show diverse expressions.

Aibo weighs 2.2 kilograms (4.85 pounds), has ivory white skin and black ears that pull slightly back when you pet him, and can follow you around the house and fetch a ball. 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.

Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai pets one of the new Aibo robotic dogs. It costs 198,000 yen, or about $1,700, as well as the monthly subscription.

Shares in Sony Corp soared to a nine-year high on Wednesday after it forecast record earnings that have vindicated its restructuring efforts and raised expectations of sustained momentum in profitability.


In addition to these improvements, Aibo also incorporates new actuator technology, which allows it to move in a more lifelike manner.

"It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics", Kazuo Hirai, Sony's chief executive officer, said in a news briefing.

The technology is based on work done by Cogitai, a California-based startup developing AI software that learns continually from real-world interactions. 150,000 dogs were sold in Japan before production came to a halt in 2006, due to mounting price pressure from regional rivals.

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. 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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