Jun 202015
 
Sony Aibo ERS-7

Sony Aibo ERS-7

Announced as a prototype in 1998 and made available to the general public in May of 1999, Sony’s AIBO line of “entertainment robots” were called “the most sophisticated product ever offered in the consumer robot marketplace,” at their induction into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2006. While many people associate the AIBO name with the beagle-like ERS-7 model (pictured here), not all models were so obviously canine in their inspiration.  The ERS-210 found its design inspiration from lion cubs, while the ERS-220 shed any pretense of biomimicry with its futuristic design.

I always wanted an ERS-7, but with a $2000+ price tag, I knew the idea of owning one would never amount to more than a pipe dream. I still love the idea of robot pets and spend quite a bit of time thinking about how to strike the perfect balance between functionality, aesthetics, and price. Robots don’t require food, they don’t make messes and should actually not only clean up after themselves, but their owners, too! But most importantly to me, they should never really have to die.

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Feb 142006
 

Ugobe Pleo demoA little over a week ago at the DEMO 2006 conference Ugobe announced their first designer life form, Pleo, a robot modeled after a one week old Camarasaurus. Pleo is the first offering from the new California-based robotics company co-founded by Furby designer Caleb Chung. In the weeks prior to the announcement, several tech blogs had begun ruminating about Ugobe and whether they could live up to the declaration on their homepage that their technology would transform “inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movement and dynamic behaviors.”

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Jan 252006
 

Sony AIBO ERS-7M3

PC Magazine has an article today about a study by the Centre for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University’s veterinary school that has concluded that the benefits of having a robot pet are similar to those that come from real pets. It has long been known that human-pet interaction is good for maintaining physiological health and low stress levels. Children with pets usually have better social skills and are better learners than those without. Lead researcher Gail Melson has determined that a robot pet, in this case a Sony Aibo, makes an acceptable substitute for the real thing.

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