Sony's Adorable Robo Dog 'aibo' Is Set To Return To The U.S.

Good news for those who are seeking the companionship of a pet robot – Sony has announced recently that a new and improved aibo, its popular robot dog, will make a comeback in the U.S. soon.

According to The Business Insider, the aibo, which was initially released in 1999 but discontinued in 2006, was revitalized last year in Japan, with a redesign and multiple upgrades. Now, Americans will be able to treat themselves to their very own metal canine and it will be much sleeker than its ancestor — for a whopping $2,899! The robot dog will be available for purchase in the U.S. for a limited time only.

If you do decide to invest in the new and improved gadget despite the hefty price tag, you will find that this aibo uses sophisticated cameras and sensors to map your house. It will also recognize up to 100 faces and remember interactions with people, allowing its artificial intelligence engine to develop a unique personality that changes over time. According to Sony, no two aibo companion robots are the same.

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The 2018 aibo has 4,000 parts, 22 actuators, OLED-screen eyes and similar AI as that used in self-driving cars. It can accurately mimic a real dog's actions and reactions. It can bark, detect words of praise and smiles, and respond to touch when someone pets it on its head, on its back, or under its chin. It will be able to use your home Wifi or a wireless connection through AT&T. Sony also partnered with Amazon Web Services to power the dog's cloud-based artificial intelligence functions.

Bob O'Donnell, president and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research told CNN that this launch is actually a way for  Sony to tell the world that they're not just the traditional electronics company – they also take AI and robotics seriously.

Despite the high price, the company has sold over 20,000 robot-dogs in Japan since launching it seven months ago – quite an achievement for a toy that costs ¥198,000 ($1,780) there. US presales start in September, with deliveries expected in time for the winter holidays. If you would like to take a look at the tech pet before making up your mind and shelling out the big bucks, the revamped aibo will be on exhibit to the US public in one place only before it goes on sale - at Sony Square in Manhattan until October 14.

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