Sony's Aibo robot dog is back -- and it's cuter than ever. The new Aibo has more personality too. Sony says it relies on sophisticated sensors and AI smarts, the sort used in self-driving cars. The Aibo senses its environs, and not just to avoid objects. The little doggie tries its darnedest to mimic the movement and activities of a real pooch.
During our playtime with the Aibo here at CES, it barked at us in an endearing way. It also kept moving around with boundless energy, almost as a puppy would. Even better, the Aibo responds to touch on three specific areas: on its head, back and under its chin. Two cameras -- in its nose and near its tail -- help the Aibo identify family members and "map" your home environment as well. Those cameras can guide it to its charging station when its two-hour charge nears an end. (It'll take about three hours to juice up.)
This new Aibo model looks more lifelike, too. The first robot (which Sony) had a boxy, robotic appearance -- it even had a visor instead of eyes. The new model is a lot more rounded and "organic" looking, with 4,000 parts, 22 actuators and OLED-screen eyes to more realistically duplicate canine activity
Right now the Aibo is sold in Japan only, and it's not cheap: It'll cost you 198,000 Yen (roughly $1,760, £1,300 or AU$2,250). But for some, that'll be a fair price to pay to be the first person on the block with a robot dog.
First published Jan. 9, 1:38 p.m. PT, 2017.
Update, 4:20 p.m.: Adds further details.
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