AIBO is an iconic series of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony. Sony announced a prototype robot in mid-1998. The first consumer model was introduced on May 11, 1999. New models were released every year until 2005. Although most models were dog-like, other inspirations included lion-cubs and space explorer, and only the final ERS-7 version was explicitly a “robot dog”.
AIBO ERS-7 following pink ball held by childAIBOs were marketed for domestic use as “Entertainment Robots”. They were also widely adopted by universities for educational purposes (e.g. Robocup) and research into robotics and human-robot interaction.
AIBOs have been used in many movies, music videos and advertising campaigns as futuristic icons.
On January 26, 2006 Sony announced that it would discontinue AIBO and several other products in an effort to make the company profitable. It also stopped development of the related QRIO robot. Sony’s AIBO customer support was withdrawn gradually, with support for the final ERS-7M3 ending in March 2013. Some third party support is available, such as repairs and battery refurbishment.
In 2006, AIBO was added into Carnegie Mellon University’s “Robot Hall of Fame” with the description “the Sony AIBO represents the most sophisticated product ever offered in the consumer robot marketplace.”
From July, 2014, Sony will no longer provide repairs for AIBO products. Continue ….