Sony is bringing back the Aibo robotic pet as a smarthome device infused with AI

Sony is bringing back its robotic pet Aibo as a smarthome assistant. The pet was first available to the public in 1999, a futuristic companion that had a new version coming out every year till 2005. The development of robotics at Sony stopped because of the lack of AI technologies to make the robots fully autonomous at that time. Now, with AI emerging as the transformational force for technologies over the next decade, Sony feels that the time is ripe for another foray into the market.

The Aibo. Image: Reuters.

The Aibo. Image: Reuters.

The new Aibo will be infused with AI, and will help control smarthome devices, as well as act as a robotic dog. Think of it as a smarthome speaker such as the Google Home or the Amazon Echo, but with an outer shell of a robotic dog. Sony has plans to open source the operating system, and invite developers to add more functions and capabilities to the new incarnation of Aibo, according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review.

Sony is bringing together the original engineers who worked on the initial run of Aibo robots, for the new Aibo project. The workers were absorbed into different teams in Sony after the company stopped making new models of the Aibo. Sony will be making its own AI, but it does not have the amount of data that is available with Google or Amazon to stay competitive, according to company executives at a high level meeting.

Sony has indicated that it will be returning to the toys business with the launch of the Toio, a rotating motorised cube scheduled to be released in Japan on 1 December. Sony does not have plans on making the Toio available worldwide. Last year, Sony had indicated its intentions of returning to the robotics business, about a decade after it stopped making and selling robots.


Published Date: Oct 09, 2017 10:32 pm | Updated Date: Oct 09, 2017 10:32 pm