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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?