Sony have announced another upgrade to their AIBO entertainment robot series, with the focus shifting away from cute tricks to becoming useful part of a household entertainment system.
The new ERS-7M2/W (white) and ERS-7M2/B (black) have the same style of casing as the previous top of the range AIBOs, but with a new finish and upgraded software and hardware under the hood, as it were.
AIBOs nose camera can now shoot video, which Sony says makes it an effective house-sitter. Given that AIBO will probably be the first thing in the back of the van if the owner gets burgled, I’m not sure if the robot’s ability to email a video clip of the view under a robber’s armpit will be especially useful. Regular emails of sound- or motion-activated photographs from home whilst you’re on holiday might bring peace of mind to some though.
AIBO can also play music from his speakers whilst dancing too – and can creak along to WAV, WMA and even MP3. Little pirate. AIBO’s Scheduler is compatible with Microsoft Outlook, so now he can remind you of any important appointments you might have via its text-to-speech interface. “Get head seen to”, for example.
The robot’s software has been optimised for much faster reaction times to spoken commands, along with better face tracking and obstacle avoidance routines – making it appear more lifelike and responsive.
All this canine robot fun will cost you US$1900 (€1545), and existing AIBO users can upgrade to AIBO Mind 2 software for $99 (€80).