Aibo, the robot dog, is back

In the world of Tamogotchi and robot pet dogs of the early 2000’s, fun forays into playful robotics ruled the time period.

Now, Sony is bringing back Aibo, the wildly popular robot dog that debuted in 1999. Back in Aibo’s early days the robot essentially functioned as a toy, delighting people with slight movements and sounds. The company had to halt production on Aibo in 2006 due to cost cutbacks, but is now showing off Aibo in an entirely new way.

Aibo will now operate more like a smart home device, with everything from AI, internet connectivity, and smart speakers. Aibo will also allow developers to innovate by being based on an open operating system.

The robot dog was an expensive toy, costing $2,500 when it was first released. Mashable writes that at this time there is no word on the cost of the new Aibo. In the time since the early 2000s, huge advancements have been made in the world of automation—this is seen in Aibo’s new tricks as well as other robotic developments for the home.

Robotics for the future

An AI assistant for the home called Duo is a mirror—27 inches wide of HD 1080p display—a screen that can play music, check news, allowing you to swipe through like a tablet. This “AI butler” allows developers to also create apps within its own OS, HomeOS.

Smart homes will need to be mapped out in full for every device like the Duo to work with each other.

To this, iRobot’s Roomba—the floor-roaming vacuum—can gather maps of your home while it travels from room to room. These maps can provide more information to other smart home devices. The ecosystem of lighting, cameras, heating, and more can benefit from this data.

While exciting, the future of robots and home-maps do bring concerns of privacy and more. To explore more about automation and how robots are changing the future, check out our Focus magazine here.