Jun 202015
Sony Aibo ERS-7

Sony Aibo ERS-7

Announced as a prototype in 1998 and made available to the general public in May of 1999, Sony’s AIBO line of “entertainment robots” were called “the most sophisticated product ever offered in the consumer robot marketplace,” at their induction into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2006. While many people associate the AIBO name with the beagle-like ERS-7 model (pictured here), not all models were so obviously canine in their inspiration.  The ERS-210 found its design inspiration from lion cubs, while the ERS-220 shed any pretense of biomimicry with its futuristic design.

I always wanted an ERS-7, but with a $2000+ price tag, I knew the idea of owning one would never amount to more than a pipe dream. I still love the idea of robot pets and spend quite a bit of time thinking about how to strike the perfect balance between functionality, aesthetics, and price. Robots don’t require food, they don’t make messes and should actually not only clean up after themselves, but their owners, too! But most importantly to me, they should never really have to die.

Continue reading »

Feb 012006
Save the Aibo!

source: ColorSiteShop.com

It was thanks to their meticulous attention to detail while inspecting Sony’s quarterly earnings report last week that the fellas at Akihabaranews.com were able to uncover Sony’s plans to put the Aibo to sleep. Even though Sony went public with their decision previous to the Akibaranews discovery in a press conference held in Japan about their earnings, it wasn’t until Akihabaranews reported their findings that word spread rapidly online, disappointing Aibo owners, robot enthusiasts, and tech dreamers alike. Today Akihabaranews.com reports that a group of French Aibo owners have started an online petition in an attempt to keep the platform alive, or at the very least, let Sony know how much this shortsighted decision affected not only Aibo owners, but others as well.

Continue reading »

Jan 262006

Sony's QRIO

It appears as though the Purdue University study I reported on yesterday extolling the virtues of robot pets came too late to save everyone’s favorite robo-puppy, the Sony Aibo, and apparently it’s not the sole casualty of Sony’s bottom line. While there has been no official announcement, careful inspection of Sony’s 2005 3rd Quarter Earnings Announcement posted on their corporate site this morning reveals that they’ve killed the Aibo product line and will be ceasing development of Qrio.

Continue reading »

Jan 252006


PC Magazine has an article today about a study by the Centre for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University’s veterinary school that has concluded that the benefits of having a robot pet are similar to those that come from real pets. It has long been known that human-pet interaction is good for maintaining physiological health and low stress levels. Children with pets usually have better social skills and are better learners than those without. Lead researcher Gail Melson has determined that a robot pet, in this case a Sony Aibo, makes an acceptable substitute for the real thing.

Continue reading »

Dec 162005
Sony's QRIO humanoid robot

source: AFP

Hot on the heels of Honda’s Asimo update announced this past Tuesday, Sony today introduced the world to the newest version of their humanoid robot, QRIO. The enhancements to the QRIO include an additional camera mounted in its forehead, mechanical improvements to its arms and hands, and better machine vision algorithms and AI. Like its Honda counterpart, QRIO is now able to recognize faces, colors, and stationary and moving objects.

During its debut in Ginza, Japan this morning, the 60 cm, 7.5 kg QRIO strode out on to the stage wiggling its hips in sync to the music in the background.

Continue reading »

Oct 022005

Sony AIBO ERS-7M3Sony released a new version of it’s popular robo-dog, the AIBO, last week. The ERS-7M3, which seems to only currently be available for order in Japan, retails at about $2300 USD. The important distinction between this model and the previous ERS-7M2 model is in the “M3” portion of it’s designation, referring to the fact it utilizes the Mind 3 version of it’s central AI software. The ERS-7M3 appears physically similar to it’s predecessors, but the Mind 3 software adds some behaviors more like it’s real-world counterparts including scratching it’s ears with it’s hind leg and yawning as well as some things no earthly dog will ever be able to do including conversing with it’s owner using hundreds of phrases that develop as it matures, diary writing and taking dictation.

Continue reading »