February 3, 2006

Aibo To Be Put Down

by Andrew Stern · , 7:58 pm

In a cost-cutting move, Sony is discontinuing its revolutionary line of robotic puppies, the Aibo.

Has Sony screwed the pooch with this move? Aibo generated so much good PR for them over the years. Interestingly, only 150,000 were purchased since its release in 1999, I would have thought more. Then again, it cost $2000.

Clearly, expressive virtual pets continue to have the power to fascinate and generate serious revenue. Maybe Sony has a new robotic creature of some sort in the works to succeed Aibo. If so, W00f.

(via Ludology.org)

6 Responses to “Aibo To Be Put Down”

  1. michael Says:

    Looks like they’re not just discontinuing the Aibo, but the QRIO as well. Too bad – both robots were great platforms for research in entertainment robotics.

  2. mary Says:

    bad dog. at least we still have a fufu.

  3. michael Says:

    A recent article in the New Scientist (subscription required) discusses the concern over the robots demise among robotics and AI researchers. Excerpt:

    Sony’s decision to discontinue production of its Aibo robotic dogs has created major concern among robotics researchers, who have long used the products to test new artificial intelligence systems. The popularity of Sony’s Aibo made it the closest thing to a standard robot the industry has seen, and researchers have been frantically moving to secure the remaining stocks of the device. A group of scientists who compete in the Aibo-inspired RoboCup soccer tournament is preparing a volume of published research papers based on Aibo studies to present to Sony in an attempt to convince the company to resurrect the robot or develop an alternative. Though it was designed as a consumer product, Aibo comes with a camera, sensors, a computer chip, and the ability to walk, which offered researchers all the features they needed to test new systems in an off-the-shelf package, saving them the trouble of building their own devices from scratch while providing a common platform to compare different systems. While Sony has pledged to service the latest Aibo model for seven years, many researchers hoping to stockpile the robots for the RoboCup Four-Legged Challenge are finding inventories depleted. “Anybody who is planning to restock now is out of luck,” said Peter Stone, an artificial intelligence researcher from the University of Texas at Austin. A potential substitute is the Robosapien, a device produced by Hong Kong’s WowWee Robotics that, while lacking Aibo’s sensors and processing power, has a level of flexibility that inventor Mark Tilden hopes will enable the device to be easily modified for research purposes. As another potential alternative, University of Pennsylvania researcher Daniel Koditschek has developed the EduBot, which can run faster than the Aibo and also leap and flip.

  4. Louis Dargin Says:

    Perhaps those researchers may find a substitute in DasaTech’s yet to be released robot “dog” named Genibo. A video of it in action can be downloaded here.

    This page from DataTech’s website has specs for “Dato”, which seems identical to Genibo.

  5. Louis Dargin Says:

    The video that I mentioned.

  6. 993ti Says:

    Although Sony discontinued Aibo, it still remains popular and lives on by those who own them and create software.
    It is still sad that Sony stopped production but the upside is that our Aibos are worth more now :)

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