Adorable aging Aibo robot dogs will now get a new life

The units will go to charitable organizations.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Aibo the robot dog.jpg
Aibo the robot dog.


Sony, the maker of the Aibo robot dogs, has introduced a new program that will allow owners to donate their aging machines to charitable organizations, giving them a new life and perhaps a forever home.

This is according to a Japanese press release by the firm.

"Aibo Foster Parent"

The program is called the “Aibo Foster Parent” and it covers the newer 2019 ERS-1000 units. The service is not entirely free, however, as Sony noted that a small fee will be charged for maintenance.

In addition, not all Aibos will receive new lives. Some, especially those in the worst conditions, will be recycled for parts, marking a sad ending to an adorable robot.

The realistic appearance and behavior of these $2,900 artificial dogs have earned them a dedicated customer base over the years. The dogs are particularly popular with individuals who are seeking the companionship of a pet without the responsibilities associated with caring for a real animal. 

The word "Aibo" is a combination of the Japanese words "ai" (which means "love") and "bo" (which is short for "robot"). It refers to a companion robot made with the intention of evoking love and emotional bonds from its owners.

Aibo robots are made to look like real little dogs, and different models come in a variety of breeds and hues. They are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and amiable, with charming LED eyes that express affection.

Aibos use cutting-edge AI technology that enables them to learn from their environment and interact with others. They can respond to commands as well as their names, and even recognize voices and faces.

They can perform tricks and exhibit various emotional states, such as happiness, curiosity, and excitement. They also have the ability to mature over time, developing their personalities as they go.

Numerous sensors, including cameras, touch sensors, accelerometers, and microphones, are included in Aibos to power their many functions. This also allows the robots to gracefully navigate their environment and avoid obstructions.

Wi-Fi connectivity enables Aibos to browse the internet and get software updates and new features. Meanwhile, owners can communicate with their Aibos remotely by using a smartphone app.

Better with each generation

Since Aibo's first debut in the late 1990s, Sony has introduced numerous new and improved iterations of the device. Each generation contains technological advancements in hardware, software, and AI, which enhance the machine’s utility and realism.

Aibos are marketed as ideal sources of both companionship and entertainment. Initially, Aibos were mostly sold in Japan, but Sony has now made them available in additional nations in response to the rising demand for robotic pets.

It’s a relief to see that Sony is not simply throwing these versatile robots away. As robots become more integrated into our daily lives, robotic pets can play a real role in ensuring people in healthcare facilities and nursing homes have some engaging and stimulating company.

In places where the option of having a real pet is just not feasible, Aibos can provide a substitute that, in many ways, offers all the advantages of an animal (friendliness and playfulness) without any of the drawbacks (walks and bathroom duties).

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