item #ERS-7 by Sony

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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 released 1999)
Original Price: $1600

   color camera (350,000 pixels - 208x160) vision
   stereo microphone hearing
   temperature sensor
   acceleration sensor (for balance)
   electric static sensor on his head and back (for touch)
   pressure touch sensors on his chin and all four paws
   vibration sensor
   built-in alarm clock
   internet connectivity via wireless LAN networking
   automatic charger locating and self-charging

Technical Specifications:
CPU: 64-bit RISC MIPS R7000 @ 576 MHz
Memory: 256mb x 2 SDRAM / 32mb Flash
Wireless LAN:
   Mode: 802.11b and 802.11g
   Frequency: 2.4 GHz
   Channels: 1-11
   Modulation: DS-SS (IEEE 802.11 compliant)
   Encryption: WEP 64 (40 bits) and WEP 128 (104 bits)

Power Supply: 7.4v 2200mA Li-Ion battery pack
AC Adapter: 16vdc 2.5A
Energy Station charger:
   Input: 16vdc
   Output: 16vdc 1.5A
   Charge Time: ~2 hours
   Dimensions: 2½" x 3½" x 15½"
   Weight: 9 ounces

Dimensions: 11" tall x 7" wide x 12½" long
Weight: 3.65 lbs

Click Here to Download the Aibo Quick Start Guide
Click Here to Download the Aibo Basic User Guide
Click Here to Download the Aibo Network User Guide

For original Sony AIBO brochures, click here or here

The OPEN-R SDK kit can be downloaded here (51.8 mb)