(New York Times) Sony introduced the robotic dog Aibo in 1999. The beaglelike robots could move around, bark and perform simple tricks and numerous owners became emotionally attached as though the robots were real dogs. Sony sold 150,000 units through 2006; the final generation of robotic dog was said to be able to express 60 emotional states. Sony was used to selling consumer products in the tens of millions, not the thousands. The Aibo fell victim to company restructuring, as Sony sought to refocus on more profitable businesses. Aibo owners were distraught and have scrambled ever since to find repair service or the electronics necessary to maintain the robot-dogs that had become part of their families.
Tags: robots, Sony Aibo