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A Visit With Aibo the Robotic Dog

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, May 20, 1999

What to make of that robotic dog. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. It looks like a cross between Star Wars and Snoopy....and sounds more like a handheld electronic game than a pet. Sony's dog shaped robot called the AIBO, goes on sale, exclusively over the Internet next month. After the big announcement in Tokyo, I finally got a look at this thing when they brought AIBO to New York. Sony's Tak Yazawa says they've packed a lot of electronics into a pretty small package...

"We have a CCD camera in it, also infrared distance sensor and also touch sensor in the head and also two microphones as the ears, and a speaker in the mouth and also a total of 18 motors in there."

Not to mention a 64 bit Risc processor. The robot's personality and all that it learns is stored on what Sony calls a Memory Stick.It and the rechargable battery slide in, how shall we put this, under the tail... (sound) It can be programmed to play with a ball and even to rather impolitely lift one hind leg.... (sound) Right now this 25 hundred dollar toy is operated pretty much by remote control. Plans are in the works to add voice recognition and even image recognition, so AIBO can recognize his owner and stop lifting that hind leg. You'll find it for sale starting in June at sony.com