TOKYO – Japanese tech giant Sony announced on Wednesday the launch of its dog-shaped robot pet Aibo, which is allegedly capable of establishing an emotional bond with people, 12 years after the company’s exit from the domestic robots sector.
The new robot, to be launched on Jan. 11, is named after its predecessor AIBO, which was sold between 1999 and 2006.
The new AIBO comes equipped with the latest advances in robotics, including multiple sensors, a camera in its nose and LED eyes, aimed at making its movements and expressions more realistic, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Apart from warming up to its owners, the robot will be capable of learning new words, gestures and orders, responding to them through an Artificial Intelligence system in the cloud, which will allow it to develop a unique personality.
According to the Japanese company, the intelligence and curiosity of the robot-dog will help in creating deep emotional bonds and long-lasting memories.
The new AIBO has a rounded shape, expressive green eyes and brown ears and a tail, making for a more natural appearance than its predecessors.
Sony is also set to launch a mobile app along with the robot pet, which the users can use to teach tricks to their AIBO, apart from accessories like “aibone,” an electronic toy shaped like a bone.
With this launch, Sony follows in the footsteps of other Japanese companies like Softbank – which released its humanoid robot Pepper in June 2015 – returning after three years of restructuring.
The announcement came a day after Sony said it was anticipating its biggest ever profits in 2017, boosting the company’s shares at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.