Sony Restructures AI Robot Dog

02 November, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Rolando Keller
  • Sony Corp’s President and Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai holds entertainment robot ‘aibo’ at a news conference in Tokyo

Maybe that's why Sony is bringing its robotic dog Aibo back from the dead.

The announcement comes a day after Sony confirmed its renaissance by forecasting its highest-ever profit this financial year, sending its shares surging to a nine-year high, and is part of the company's attempts to rekindle its pioneering prowess after years of restructuring.

It has OLED screens for eyes for the display of a diverse range of emotions and a camera in the nose that can snap photos.

In a news briefing to introduce AIBO, Sony's Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said "It was a hard decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics".

Aibo will go on sale in January for 198,000 yen (£1,306) in Japan, with foreign sales being evaluated.

AIBO is a pet AI which can behave as a real dog.

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The "latest iteration of the beloved robotic companion" is built around a 64-bit quad-core brain, with deep learning technology seeing the aibo developing "its own unique personality through everyday interactions as it grows closer and closer to its owners". Over the following years, more than 150,000 units were sold.

Aibo also connects to an app, making it a potential rival to smart speaker devices such as Google Home and Alexa from Amazon.

"Slowly but surely, Aibo will also become more aware of its environment, and as it gains confidence it will learn to walk around an increasingly wider area and respond to situations accordingly".

In a press release, Sony highlights "irresistible cuteness" as Aibo's primary feature. It can also identify the position of objects in a room and do not forget to avoid them. Sony hasn't announced a launch date for the US market yet.

It is also equipped with artificial intelligence so it can learn how to better communicate with its owners.

Sony's cutesy toy robot dog first appeared in 1999 before being, ahem, "sent to a farm" in 2006. Two months later, it started a venture capital fund called Sony Innovation Fund aiming at A.I. and robotics startups.

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