Sony unveils latest Aibo robot

Sony Corp. unwrapped its latest Aibo entertainment robot on Wednesday, a futuristic-looking model that looks more like a cheap knock-off of previous versions than the cuter, cuddlier models it had designed so far.

Below the neck, the new model -- the ERS-220 -- bares a resemblance to Sony's first edition Aibo, the ERS-110, and its successor, the ERS-210, but from the neck up things are drastically different. Aibo's new head, complete with 21 flashing lights and a retractable headlight, makes the new model a lot more robot-like than pet-like.

"That's really what the Aibo is, a robot and not a puppy dog or a cat," said Jon Piazza, a spokesman for Sony Electronics Inc. "The general public thought of (Aibo) as a replacement for a pet and it really never was intended as that."

Hardware-wise, the other main changes beyond the style are in the number of joints. The new Aibo has no moveable ears or a tail and so offers 16 degrees of freedom compared to 20 on the previous model.

On the software side, Sony has updated the Aibo system software to allow for a 75-word vocabulary and enhanced photo-taking capability. A new package, Aibo Step, allows users to change the noise the robot makes when it walks and a second new package, Aibo Boost, allows the robot to become excited, curious or alert when communication with its owner goes well.

Like the ERS-210, the ERS-220 is built around a modular design in which the head and legs clip onto a central body which includes all of the control circuitry and main battery unit. For this reason, owners of the ERS-210 will be able to buy a kit of new body parts that can be attached to the central unit of their Aibo to transform it into the new version. That kit will be available in December, said Piazza.

The robot-like form of the ERS-220 is in sharp contrast to the rounder, cuter styling of Latte and Macaron, which were announced in September and were until Wednesday the two newest members of the Aibo family. Those robots are Sony's first attempt at cracking the young, working-woman market and are modeled after bear cubs to appeal to women in their twenties, said the company. The ERS-220 model will be available this month in the U.S. and Sony is already accepting advance orders on its Web site. Like the previous model, the new version costs US$1,500. Sony is due to announce sales plans for other regions at a Tokyo press conference to be held on Thursday.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?