Sony’s robotic dog Aibo is launching in the US. As many readers will know, Aibo is an old dog and was previously around many years ago.
But Sony stopped producing them and only relaunched the expensive mechanical pet a few months ago.
Like its previous incarnation, the new Aibo is very expensive, retailing at around $2,900 in a package called First Litter.
The first one, launched in 1999, sold for $600 to $2,000. Around 150,000 units were sold in the seven years it was available.
The new one is selling even better, with 20,000 Aibos sold in Japan alone since the beginning of the year, despite the hefty price tag.
And the new Aibo has learned cloud-based artificial intelligence functions, internet connectivity, and some new tricks, displaying much more sophisticated behaviors than its predecessor.
Sony says it can detect emotions and respond to them appropriately, much like a real dog. But unlike a real dog, Aibo can speak 1,000 words and, of course, can accept voice commands.
The small robot has approximately 4,000 parts, 22 actuators and organic light-emitting diode eyes, and Sony says it has solved some of the issues around mass manufacturing, which means it can produce more units for the market.
Until now, Sony has used a lottery system to decide who gets to buy one of the limited numbers of Aibo units the company supplies.