Slideshow: Sony built a puppy robot that’s (almost) self-awarePosted: Updated:
(Meredith) – The future is now, and it’s adorable.
Sony announced their newest creation, “aibo,” the entertainment robot dog that “brings fun and joy to the entire family,” the company said in a press release.
Aibo can form an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with love, affection, and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion.
What does aibo do?
Basically, take everything a real dog can do, minus needing to pick up its droppings. Aibo has a dynamic range of motion, which it uses to show its owners how much it loves them by moving its eyes, ears, and tail, as well as making different vocal sounds.
It actively seeks out its owners, just like a real puppy would. It detects words of praise, it smiles, and it scratches its head and back. Not to mention it remembers what actions make its owners happy.
Is aibo self-aware? No, but it certainly is adaptable. As aibo explores its environment and learns more about its owners, it becomes more aware of its environment. It gains confidence and will explore on its own the more comfortable it becomes.
This is all possible through Sony’s learning technology, which is comprised of internal sensors that detect and analyze sounds and images.
Aibo’s eyes also play a major role in its evolution. The fish-eye cameras utilize location and mapping technology, allowing the pup to live its life near its owners.
Changes over time
Like a real puppy that learns and grows through trial and error, so does aibo. Its behavior changes and adapts to its environment, especially when its owner shows it love. In return, aibo shows them love and affection, strengthening a bond just like a real dog would.
Aibo’s changes occur through Sony’s AI technology, which communicates with their cloud. First, it has to ask its owners permission to collect the data from the interactions, then it connects to the cloud and accesses the knowledge it has accumulated.
This ensures the robot pup’s ability to learn specific commands and ideal behavior for each person it interacts with.
The “aibo” app
The robo-pup even comes with its own app, called “My aibo”. Through the app, aibo owners will have the ability to:
- Access system settings
- Access owner information
- View any pictures taken of aibo
- “Play” with aibo in virtual space
- Go to the aibo store and add new tricks to teach the pup
Here's what you'll be paying if you want your very own aibo:
aibo's Basic Cost:
- One-time purchase: $1,736.23
aibo's three-year subscription (necessary for all aibo users):
- One-time payment: $789.20
- 36-month payment: $26.13/month
aibo Support Care:
- Three-year plan: $473.52
- One-year plan: $175.38
- $2,998.95 = aibo + One-time Payment (Three-year) Subscription + Three-year Plan (aibo Support Care)
- $2,700.81 = aibo + One-time Payment (Three-year) Subscription + One-year Plan (aibo Support Care)
- $2,235.88 = abio + 36-month payment: $26.13/month + Three-year Plan (aibo Support Care)
- $1,937.74 = abio + 36-month payment: $26.13/month + One-year Plan (aibo Support Care)
What if aibo breaks?
If aibo breaks, malfunctions or stops working, don’t worry. All of aibo’s data is stored in the cloud, which users can restore onto a new aibo.
Sony is offering the following support for aibo users:
- 50 percent off repair fees (examination fees, part replacements, exchanging broken or depleted components)
- 50 percent discount on checkups and inspections
As of right now, the entire stock of aibos that are available for pre-order is completely sold out.
They are scheduled to be released on January, 11, 2018. It's unclear if this release will be worldwide, or only in Japan.