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Sony’s robot dog has learned some new tricks

Posted at 6:34 AM, Jan 11, 2018

Sony’s iconic robotic dog Aibo can now dance, find a bone and recognize people in your family.

The Japanese electronics company showed off Aibo’s new tricks at CES 2018 in Las Vegas this week.

The revamped version of the robotic dog, which Sony first launched in the 1990s, costs ¥198,000 (about $1,740). Pre-orders began in November, and it will start shipping in Japan next week.

Sony hasn’t said when it might become available in other countries.

Aibo drew big crowds at CES, with fans and media eager to see the latest version of the robotic puppy.

Sony has made a slew of upgrades to Aibo. Unlike previous models, it has OLED eyes, which make it look more realistic and display more nuanced expressions.

Aibo is outfitted with new artificial intelligence capabilities, such as developing its own personality over time. It has facial recognition so it can detect different members of your family and can tell people apart from an object like a bone. If someone in your house pets Aibo the most, it will interact with them the most.

The main camera is located in the nose and it has touch sensors on the top of its head, chin and back. Sony also says its movements are more dog-like and realistic — for example, its head shakes.

It can do fun tricks like find a ball or bone, lay down or give a high-five. For now, Aibo understands English and Japanese, but more languages are coming soon.

Sony says Aibo’s main purpose right now is to be a companion robot. However, since it has an accompanying app, it could eventually be a competitor to smart speaker devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home.

The electronics company launched the first generation of Aibo — short for artificial intelligence robot — in 1999. It hoped the dog would charm consumers and get them excited about using artificial intelligence.

At first, the robotic pup was very popular. All 3,000 available units sold out in 20 minutes online. Although the company unveiled two more Aibo generations, interest faded as cheaper robots entered the market.

Sony eventually ended production of Aibo in 2006.

But now, it’s making a comeback. And more robotic dogs are reportedly in Sony’s future, too.

For now, consumers can enjoy Aibo’s new capabilities — and the fact that it won’t have any accidents in the house.