This is the momst advanced robot pet that I have seen - and the price reflects it! AIBO (an acronym for Artificial Intellegence roBOt, AIBO also means "companion" in Japanese) was designed and manufactured by Sony beginning in 1999. With realistic movements and mannerisms, this is the perfect combination of nature and technology.
AIBO, of course, performs the usual dog/robodog tricks and commands - stay, sit, roll over, bark, play fetch. He even has his own favorite toys - a pink ball and an AIBone toy. In addition to that, it includes a color camera to allow for face and object recognition. When he gets tired (ie. his battery is low), AIBO will seek out his "power station" and place himself on charge.
Unlike a real dog, AIBO incorporates wireless LAN technology to allow it to send and receive AIBO Mail (specially formatted email) to take photos and send them anywhere in the world in real time. It will even tell you when you receive email (at your regular email address) - much better than the AOL "you've got mail" guy, if you ask me.
The usual way of communicating with AIBO is with simple voice commands, but that could be a problem if you are in noisy surroundings. In that case, fifteen special "AIBO Cards" are included. These cards are similar to flashcards, each with a different image printed on it. By placing the appropriate card in front AIBO, he will be able to interpret that card and perform the selected task.
The personality of your AIBO is determined by the way in which you "raise" it. It can either be social and outgoing or a loner content to play by himself. The software pack (AIBOware) that comes from the factory is called MIND (images of which can be downloaded here). It incorporates all of AIBO's applications on a 32mb Sony Memory Stick. Sony also released an SDK kit to allow AIBO owners to reprogram their pet. I was not able to find it on their site (I only get the famous 404 error), but I was able to locate a copy and I have it available below.
Despite the sheer awesomeness of this robot dog, Sony decided to pull the plug on AIBO in 2006. They will still support the ERS-7 model until the year 2013.
Year Released: 2003 (1st generation
Power Supply: 7.4v 2200mA Li-Ion battery pack
Dimensions: 11" tall x 7" wide x 12½" long
The OPEN-R SDK kit can be downloaded here (51.8 mb)