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Sony Hardware

New Version of Sony's AIBO Robot Dog Released 134

Cave_Monster writes "Sony has unveiled a new version of its canine robot AIBO which, unlike your average puppy, can talk and keep a diary but which still needs love and attention. Sony starts taking orders Thursday, with a price tag of 194,250 yen (US $2,263.40) in Japan including a five-per cent sales tax. Now that's one expensive toy!"
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New Version of Sony's AIBO Robot Dog Released

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  • Aibo link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <slashthree.davidglover@org> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:07PM (#13699258) Homepage
    Here's a link to Sony's own AIBO page [], which really should have been in the story.
    • Re:Aibo link (Score:2, Informative)

      by eganloo ( 195345 )
      Keep in mind that the US and Europe mini-sites for AIBO haven't been fully updated yet with the newly announced ERS-7M3 version. The US site mentions the ERS-7M3, but doesn't explain the new features (talking, diary-writing, dictating news, and so on). The Europe site describes the RSS newsfeed dication feature, but doesn't mention some of the other features.

      The Japanese site has the most details of the new Mind 3 capabilities: []
  • by FluffyWithTeeth ( 890188 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:08PM (#13699263)
    I for one welcome our new- er.. newer robo canine overlords!

    And I bet you can install OSX on them...

  • Price tag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:08PM (#13699265)
    From TFA:

    The robo-dog may steal owners away from the Tamagotchi virtual pet, which swept the world in the mid-1990s.

    Uhm, yeah. This +$2K puppy will surely steal the market share from a $10 toy!

    • by kfg ( 145172 )
      As my brother once noted while watching his cat, " Life would be so much simpler if we could be satisfied with a styrofoam peanut."

      And much to the dismay of many parents on Christmas morning, very young children often are.

    • Re:Price tag (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gatton ( 17748 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:27PM (#13699375)
      Well since the TFA is on an Australian site I'm assuming that's in Aussie dollars. According to [] it's only $1,712.06 in US dollars.

      There. Now go run out and buy one!

    • reminds me of a smothers brothers skit that went something like:

      tom: apples! fresh apples! just $10,000 per apple!
      dick: you're not going to sell many apples with a price like that.
      tom: well, i only need to sell one, right?

      i wish i had more of their work in my library. heh.
    • What an ignorant statement. The current equivalent to Tamagotchi is Nintendogs which is one neat piece of software and is the type of thing I have come to expect from Nintendo. I may play my games on an xbox or pc or ps2, but I always enjoy seeing what new quirky things nintendo is trying to hock on the public.
  • Expensive? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jupix ( 916634 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:12PM (#13699286)

    Sony starts taking orders Thursday, with a price tag of 194,250 yen (US $2,263.40) in Japan including a five-per cent sales tax. Now that's one expensive toy!

    Expensive? Bear in mind that most $2k computers go to ten-year-olds and they are also pretty much just toys so that makes them expensive too. Nah, I'd say that $2k for a robot puppy is actually quite reasonably-priced if not a bargain.

    • 1) Not many computers cost $2K anymore. 2) When the 10-year-old gets a job, he'll find a computer, not a toy puppy. Unless he works for Sony, evidently.
    • Re:Expensive? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Whether said $2k computer goes to a 10 year old or not, the computer itself is far more useful than a stupid robotic dog.

      It's like the internet, just beacuse people play games or look at porn doesn't mean the internet is exactly as useful as an XBOX or a Hustler Magazine.
    • Re:Expensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      The idea of a pet that does not piss and crap all over the house or cause gobs of other damage makes it look good to me at $5000.00US!!

      Anyone ever tried raising a puppy in their home knows that a free puppy can cause well over $5000.00 in damage in a 24 hour period. before you get a live pet, if you own things such as nice furniture, LEATHER furniture, good carpet, hardwood trim and floors, or live in someplace you would call really nice be ready to either keep that pet in a cage most of it's life or spend
    • Bear in mind that most $2k computers go to ten-year-olds...

      Sure, if they're spoiled little brats. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but decent computers can be found for about $700 these days.
    • Sony starts taking orders. . .

      . . . from who?
      • Re:Expensive? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nuOpus ( 463845 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @07:30PM (#13700722)
        You know its funny. People with certain financial status think the same of PDAs. I have known 40 year old people who work minimum wage jobs to talk down gadgets such as GPS units, PDAs and yes .. DVD players (they prefer VHS) as being worthless and stupid devices just because of their financial bracket.

        If your in a financial bracket obove the people I just described, then buying a PDA is just a usefull device I can replace every year.

        This is the same for people who think of these dogs as stupid. They think that because $3000 is a tough chunk of change to just spend on anything and they just dont have it.

        For people in the upper income bracket $3000 is something that does not take much effort to save for and things like this are no longer so stupid because they are very much within reach. BTW there are LOTS of people in the upper end bracket I just describe and the sales of aibos have been good. The units have gone through multiple versions and various improvements over the YEARS. And no .. this is not new .. it has been a popular item for a while now.

        • Actually, I was not intending to imply that nobody would buy one... I was just trying to make a (rather lame, I admit) joke, suggesting that Sony was taking orders. Orders as in, say, the military type, not the buy something type.
  • Tamagotchi (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gunpowda ( 825571 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:12PM (#13699288)
    The robo-dog may steal owners away from the Tamagotchi virtual pet, which swept the world in the mid-1990s.

    Did anyone ever play with theirs for longer than 5 minutes? More importantly, what audience is there to 'steal' given that these haven't been on the market for years?

  • You are paying for hardware and software... trust me, the software is the biggest expense. What is surprising about that? Just wait till your refridgerator has a console in the door, that won't be the kind of present you give away very often either.

    What's even worse about Aibo is that the amount of creativity that it permits the owner is not exactly what I would call an open source kind of effort.

    I've not heard of them going BSOD as yet, but there is always a new version to be released.

    This is just one of t
  • But .. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But does it bite ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can it fling toxic darts at unwanted house guests?
  • Meaning of AIBO... (Score:5, Informative)

    by zalas ( 682627 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:13PM (#13699295) Homepage
    In case anyone's curious, AIBO sounds like aibou, which in Japanese means partner or pal, etc, kind of along the same lines as "best friend" in "man's best friend."
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:15PM (#13699308)
    Many dog owners keep their dog for practical reasons: for game hunting, as seeing-eye dogs, for companionship, or for protection/security. While these robotic dogs may provide some form of companionship, are they useful for anything else? Or are they just technological curiosities?

  • by Jesus 2.0 ( 701858 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:18PM (#13699322)
    "AIBO owners have sometimes asked us what AIBO is feeling like in certain situations as it was not clear. They will be pleased to have this speaking function,"

    Yeah, that's just what I want. Guests over at my house, and all of a sudden out of nowhere comes a fucking robot dog asking me "Why don't you love me? Why don't you love me? Why don't you love me?"
  • Waiting (Score:3, Funny)

    by whiteranger99x ( 235024 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:19PM (#13699330) Journal
    I'm waiting until I can buy the Sony Celladiowave [] from Sony Style Magazine

  • Creepy robots. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frazbin ( 919306 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:22PM (#13699347)
    "But it also comes with several lives. Owners can skip the maturing process and make AIBO an adult instantly or switch the adult back to a pup to enjoy the growing-up stage." I realize that the AIBO is an extremely simple piece of equipment when compared to even a unicellular organism, but still. People who buy this are looking to impose the "dog" abstraction on it. Sony is trying very hard to make AIBO owners treat it like a real dog. It's a little disturbing that it can be reset with the push of a button. Either the owners are going to be apathetic towards it, since it isn't realistic enough to empathize with, or they're going to be wierded out when their mature "dog" suddenly starts acting like a puppy. I know it'd creep me out.
  • Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:23PM (#13699351) Journal
    When it has voice recognition that can recognize, comprehend, and respond to casually spoken speech with same fluidity that another person could reasonably exhibit, has many of the functions of a modern cellphone and pda combined, and when the thing is as small as a wristwatch, wearable on a wristsrap or neckchain, I'll be interested.

    Until then, I see this sort of thing as just a toy that would be liable to be entertaining for all of... oh... maybe up to a week or so, and then forgotten. Kind of a lot of money to spend on something with such a brief entertainment value, don't you think?

    • Apparently you've never played around with coke.
    • Can keep good company. It's really well designed. Usually amazes people and chicks.
      But, most importantly, there is an SDK [] free for anyone to download.
      It's very simple to hack some quick programs running on Windows, remotely controlling the dog (completely, or sharing it with the personality software).
      It's possibly the best solution out there for anyone that wants to experiment with the software side of robotics.
    • I think a simpler requirement for dog-hood would be: it should be agile and durable enough that you can walk it to the park and have it fetch thrown objects. (maybe the new model has improved, but the older models didn't run or even walk very fast and AFAICT weren't really suited for outdoor use)
      • Obviously the requirements I cited have nothing to do with doghood. But then, what does keeping a diary and being able to talk have to do with doghood?

        I otherwise agree with what you are saying... an artificial pet needs to be just as versatile as the real thing.

  • MC Chris has a hilarious song about these called "robotdog". Y'all should listen to it.
  • Untill these things are at least "smart" enough to say go through a Schutzhund [], what's the point? You're not getting a real pet or real companionship from a peice of plastic and metal, so it should at least act as a good work dog.
  • What's changed is the software: Mind 3, replacing the previous Mind 2 (plus service packs). My biggest wish for Mind 3 would be for some image processing to heal the terrible image quality of the internal camera, and also, for some sort of "TV image detection".. so that it doesn't get stuck cheering at the TV while I'm trying to watch it !
  • i seem to remember someone hacking the AIBO a couple years back (i mean, it did have 802.11b support, a camera, etc.)

    anyone know of where to track this down? thinking of this way you could command your AIBO to do stuff from a remote location

    my fave random AIBO thing was this prototype unveiled at STEF '03 that had "digital olfactory" capability - when i asked whether that was so that, you know, you could send the dog into areas that a human or animal couldn't go, the answer was, "um, no: it's a dog. it need
  • You need to keep shoving Sony Memory Sticks up its ass to keep it fed....
  • AIBO can now blog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eganloo ( 195345 ) <eganloo AT anime DOT net> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:42PM (#13699446)
    One factoid not mentioned in the linked article is that the new AIBO can blog.

    Yes, blog. In addition to "talking" and keeping a "diary" of its daily routine, it can automatically and wirelessly upload its entries to an public blog website for all to read. (For all Japanese-literate, at least.) As with any blog, the owner and similarly squishy entities can submit comments to AIBO's entries. []

    Sony actually thought it was necessary to post the following warning:
    "* [People] can write comments, but AIBO cannot respond to the comments."

    Plus, you can train AIBO with your daily routine by importing your Microsoft Outlook schedule into him/her/soulless thingy. For example, AIBO can dictate today's news headlines as you eat breakfast.

    I'll let the concept of an unholy alliance between robotic dogs, blogs, and Microsoft Outlook sink in before the blood-curdling begins.
  • Is it ill-tempered? Can I train it to, say, guard my underground heroin production lair? Would it attack any kung fu masters who might enter from some sort of ventilation system? Would it be able to differentiate between said kung-fu master or MI6 agent and my loyal henchmen?

    Is it fluffy?
  • Or at least they will be for several centuries. It has nothing to do with AI or realism or functionality. It has to do with the psychology of humans and that little off switch on the back of each. When a human is done with their gigapet or Aibo, they turn it off until they come back later. It's not a virtual pet, it's a toy. Toy's are put away when you are done with them. There never will be any real sense of responsibility to take care of a pet if you can turn it off. Even if you can't turn it off,
  • Had One (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @02:52PM (#13699477) Homepage
    I got one of the first models as part of my "severance package" from my employer. It had belonged to the our remote office where I was an intern. My boss told us if it disappear he wouldn't care. Anyways, I had it and fixed it up. It was somewhat amusing in its ability to track down it's special pink ball. But the thing was really damn slow. I mean it was very apparent that it was a robot in the way it moved. It wasn't fluid at all. But it was an amazing piece of engineering. When I got it the leg was broken. I tried to fix it but it was too hard. Thankfully the it was modular in design. I eventually ordered a new leg for it. The legs, tail, and even the head can come off and be changed.

    I showed it to my AI professor once and he told me that Sony sent these out to universities when they first came out so researchers could play with them. Then he showed me the thing that made it so amazing. No matter how you oriented the AIBO, it can always stand upright. If you put it on its side, it will move its legs so it rolls over until its belly is on the ground and then proceed to get up. You can't put it with its back side down because of the head (Sony designed it that way on purpose). Its ability to stand up is probably the most amusing part. Otherwise, it wasn't all the great, IMO. I eventually gave it to boss' kids because I thought it would amuse and inspire them more than it did for me and hopefully one of them would go into AI someday.

    • Forgot to add, just in case anyone wonders what the experience of owning a robotic dog was like, it only made me wish I had a real puppy instead. That's about as far as the human-robot relationship got. It was somewhat disappointing since I had a dog back home.
    • One of the divisions of the ongoing RoboCup competition (robotic soccer) is the Sony Four-Legged League, where researchers, including some pretty high-powered robotics groups from major universities, hack teams of Aibos to play soccer against other teams of Aibos.
      RoboCup []
      Four-Legged League []
  • Not girl friendly (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, but will girls think it's cute and want to walk up and start petting it?

    Didn't think so.
  • It seems the latest toy from Sony can be instructed through WiFi to take pictures or record video (it has stereo microphones as ears and a camera as eyes). It can also send the captured media by email.

    Nifty eh ?
  • When 20-50 year old men find more hours of amusement from a toy than it's intended audience.
    • When 20-50 year old men find more hours of amusement from a toy than it's intended audience.

      I think 20-50 year old mean are its intended audience.

      But go ahead and keep telling people how sad their lives are, if it makes you feel better about yourself.

  • What I find interesting, is even though you hav to pay 2K+ dollars for one (which sounds reasonable, but I haven't played with one so I am not sure), you can download three SDKs from Sony [].

    Finally, I can teach a dog to help keep the mother-in-law outside the house, and for it to unplug the phone when the call is coming from her house!

  • Looks like Alien (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PromANJ ( 852419 )
    That head looks a bit like Giger's Alien, I couldn't resist doing a bit of a redesign [].

    SDR and Papero looks pretty good, but most robot designs out there doesn't appeal to me at all. Maybe they're limited by engineering problems though. Right home robotics seem to be where the home computers were back in the 1970's, ie. expensive kits with no real screens and little use (KIM etc).

    One day there might be kits in the local hobbystore containing a bunch of joints you can connect as you like, then the head
  • I want a Marvin.
  • 194,250 yen is more like 1,720 US dollars. Still in striking range of $2K, but still far off from the original quoted dollar value. I noticed this because I'm going to Japan this week, and the original numbers in this post implied that my trip would be 25% more expensive than I was planning :)
    • The currency conversion was right into Australian dollars at the Australian newspaper which published it, then the editor or submitted included the US before the $ sign. Check the original link, its not in the article. This apparent extra-special-effort-to-screw-up-the-copy-paste job went unnoticed despite the fact that the name of the paper is The Australian.
  • This appears to be yet another incremental revision with no
    changes to the hardware whatsoever (or not noticeable, at least).
    They just tweaked the default software a bit and called it a new
    release. If history is any lesson, though, we might expect a
    really new model within the year or so.
  • ...but I hope Sony has made this new Aibo to be able to run Puppy Linux []


  • The one thing that this toy does not do that really seperates it from a real pet is that you have to plug it in. If they sold it with at "doggie bed" that would allow the aibo to recharge via induction, and the aibo could find the bed when it was low on power, THEN I would consider buying one. If I have to plug it in, it is a toy. If I could leave one in my house while I went away on vacation, and when I came back it was greeting me at the door, that would be a pet.
  • Sony starts taking orders Thursday, with a price tag of 194,250 yen (US $2,263.40) in Japan including a five-per cent sales tax.

    Hell, in memphis tennessee sales tax is 9.25%. i WISH we had 5%
  • Great work misquoting the article. The $2,263.40 is AUSTRALIAN.

    According to the actual price in US dollars works out to $1,704.54.

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