Sony’s back with a brand new robotic pooch

After more than a decade of quiet, Sony‘s suddenly brought back their robotic pet companion AIBO, and he’s gotten quite an upgrade since the last time we saw him.

The new Aibo is quite different from its predecessors, and aside from looking a whole lot cuter (actually having eyes does help) it’s looking a lot more mobile and is a fair bit smarter than its previous incarnations.

One of its key features being its capability to “form an emotional bond” with members of the household “while providing them with love, affection, and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion.” Its behaviour is adaptable as well, with the dog to seek out owners, learn what makes them happy and gradually growing accustomed to wider environments.

With it’s set of ultra-compact actuators that allow its body to move along 22 axes, the Aibo has far more lifelike (and less clunky) movements. For eyes, the pooch has two OLED panels to allow it to express emotion better (not unlike the tech that Furby has been using for quite awhile now) and it sports a two-hour battery life, with a three-hour recharge time.

That’s right, Spot will be needing to take quite a few naps when you’re not playing with him.

To top it off, Aibo uses deep learning technology and cloud data to learn from the other experiences of Aibo units and their owners, as well as analyses sounds and images via its own sensors. You can even download an app called My Aibo that will allow you to change the settings on your pooch, view photos taken by the dog’s camera and download extra “tricks” from a store. However, your new robotic pal does require a subscription (not unlike SoftBank’s Pepper) that will set you back 2,980 yen (about RM110) a month for a minimum of three years but will give you access to cloud backup, the app and Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.

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Oh, you’ll also get to play with Aibo with an Aibone that also costs 2,980 yen (about RM110), we’re not even joking.

Aibo is up for pre-orders starting today in Japan, and will officially hit the shelves come January 11th 2018. He isn’t cheap however, being priced at 198,000 yen (about RM7345) and there are currently no plans to release Aibo overseas.