By Neelabja Adkuloo
Sony released an updated version of its iconic pet ‘Aibo’ on the 1 November 2017. Aibo is a simulated robot dog that now comes with artificial intelligence and several smart features to make it appear more lifelike. Currently, the dog is only available for sale in Sony’s hometown, Japan, at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,12,348.
What went wrong?
The original Aibo dog was launched 18 years ago. Its movements were termed as chunky and robotic. It was limited to using a computer vision to interact with humans. The Japanese company abruptly stopped its production in 2006. Allegedly, the shelving of the project was part of a cost-cutting exercise. However, the dog remained as an icon.
New and improved Aibo
The new robot dog goes by the same name as its predecessor. Sony has equipped each eye with an OLED to enhance its expressiveness. It can move its body along 22 different axes, which makes motions such as ear and tail wagging smoother. The touch sensors work with the fisheye camera in the nose and the secondary camera to help the pup recognise its owner’s face, among other sounds and images. It adjusts to the environment it is introduced to by using Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) technology. The most important innovation has been the introduction of a SIM card connection that provides Aibo with mobile internet access. An app called My Aibo can be used to view pictures taken from the dog’s camera and to download “tricks” from the app store.
The futuristic family pet is equipped with artificial intelligence to seek what makes the owner happy, angry, sad or pleased. The technology is believed to be capable of building a loving relationship with human beings. The emotional bond grows over time as Aibo learns to respond to petting and analysing praise. Interestingly, the owner’s approach to nurturing Aibo will further shape its personality. Sony expects Aibo to appeal to the young as well as the old and the company has released a statement saying that other entertainment robots are a high possibility in the future.
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