Japan based company Sony has brought back AIBO after a decade since it last made the robotic dog. The firm seeks to rebuild its reputation after many years of restructuring. This announcement came a day after the company confirmed its renaissance by forecasting its highest ever profit in the financial year, which also led the shares to surge to a nine year high.
AIBO is a pet which behaves like a real dog using artificial intelligence to learn and interact with the owner and surroundings. The upgrade sees AIBO now equipped with new sensing and movement technologies and has far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing in order to develop the personality of the dog. The sales of the same begin in Japan in January and are roughly priced at Rs.1, 12,300. Sony pioneered with the entertainment robot in 1999 and sold about 150,000 dogs in Japan before ceasing the production seven years later when its core consumer electronics business began to struggle with emerging Asian rivals.
Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said that it was indeed a difficult decision to stop the project in 2006 but they continued development in AI and robotics thereafter. The AIBO features new actuator technology which allows it to move more smoothly and naturally like a real dog. It has sensing and AI technology which allows it to run towards its owner and detect smiles and words of praise; it can also remember actions that please the owner. Its eyes are made of organic light emitting diode displays which make it capable of diverse expressions.
Sony aims to sell as many new AIBO as the original but does not have a timeframe for it as yet. It is also considering overseas sales. Sony sees AI as a pillar of growth for the future, and hopes to catch up with major technology companies like Facebook, Apple and Google. Sony had invested an undisclosed sum in Cogitai last year, which is a US based AI startup focusing on a technology which allows machines to learn autonomously from interaction in the real world. It also has a venture capital fund which helps build partnerships with startup companies and researchers in robotics and AI.
Earlier in the year, Sony Education had launched its first product, Koov, which aims to teach children coding through the process of building and programming robots using plastic blocks.