AIBO: Sony’s Robotic Pup is Back


Video: Finally – relief for dog lovers with allergies.  Jenna Perlman reports.

By Yukun Zhang and Jenna Perlman
BU News Service

LAS VEGAS – Sony showed off a new version of an old pup, Aibo, the artificial intelligence powered robotic dog at CES on Monday. First launched in 1999, the mechanical doggie developed a devoted fan base, but Sony stopped production in 2005.

Aibo is back with updated features, including the ability snap photos. It can recognize its owners and interact with the world around him using Sony’s built-in sensors.

“Aibo is an autonomous robot and will quickly become a member of your family. Right, Aibo?” said Kazuo Hirai, the Japanese company’s president and CEO, addressing the robot at the event.

The updated Aibo features artificial intelligence. “We learned that we needed to demonstrate how AI robotics, when combined, had the potential to create rewarding interactions,” Hirai said.

The new Aibo’s AI sensing technology enables the pet to develop emotional bonds with its owner, and to gather information about its owners from the cloud.

“This is exactly the type of product that delivers KANDO, technology that inspires emotional involvement. Aibo is just the beginning,” Hirai said.

Sony’s drone, Aerosense, also uses the company’s AI technology. “Our drones are flying robots with artificial intelligence,” Hirai said.

Another highlight of Hirai’s presentation was the company’s image sensor which, “when combined with other technology, will enable all of us to see the unseen.”

“These sensors capture images accurately, rapidly and reliably under various conditions when the human eye strains or has limitations,” Hirai said. In situations such as darkness, long distances, and wide angle, Hirai said the sensor could help drivers avoid dangers.

Hirai said the company was working with companies such as Intel Mobileye and Nvidia in developing autonomous cars, and announced the company’s own concept car. Sony’s car can be remotely controlled through the cloud, and can analyze the information stored in the cloud to assist the driver.

Besides Sony’s technology in sensor and AI robotics, Hirai also presented the company’s new TVs with optimal picture quality, RX0, a tiny yet powerful camera, noise-cancelling headphones and a family robot named Hello.

The center stage was only occupied for 25 minutes. Reporters and photographers bustled about in booths to experience Sony’s new products.

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