Sony’s Aibo Robot makes a return, but won’t replace your real dog just yet

It’s been about a decade since Sony last introduced its line of robot toy dogs. But now the Aibo is back with features like a brand new AI, better movements, more “tricks” and even adorable blue OLED eyes to melt your kid’s heart.

The first Aibo was launched way back in 1999. Since then, this new model has a few interesting features like being capable of “forming an emotional bond with members of the household.” While we don’t know how much truth to that there is anything is definitely a step up from the robot pal we saw from the late 90’s.

The latest Aibo has “nuanced” facial expressions coming from its new OLED blue eyes, cameras that allow for facial recognition of your family members, and much better body movements over its predecessors. Plus, there are new sounds and movements that are all in attempt to make Aibo lifelike and more realistic than any other toy robot before it.

Aibo walks more naturally than before and he can even shake hands with you. He’ll also respond to voice commands and even let you pet him. Aibo will also sit on command, play with a ball, scratch and do many other things real dogs do. His tail wags, the ears move, the mouth opens, and the head will turn and tilt making Aibo seem pretty expressive as you can see in the video below:

Aibo even takes a few lessons from its robot cousin the Roomba by learning the layout of your house over time. This is so he doesn’t accidentally run into things and takes the fastest route in between rooms of your house. Aibo has a quad-core CPU and since it’s 2017, he can also connect with built-in LTE and Wi-Fi to get software updates. Among other new technology in Aibo are various sensors, gyroscopes and four microphones for picking up your voice commands from across the room.

Sony stated that Aibo “keeps on growing and changing, constantly updating its data in the cloud,” and they insure that “over time, your approach to nurturing your Aibo will gradually shape its personality—it could be a doting partner, a wild, fun-loving companion, or anywhere in between.”

You can preorder Aibo from Sony’s online store for the US equivalent of about $1,700 with shipping planned to begin on January 11. Sony says for right now it’s launching in Japan only, but we suspect we will see AIbo in other markets soon.

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