This week Sony unveiled a new version of its canine robot AIBO which, unlike your average puppy, can talk and keep a diary.
The toy pet vaguely resembles a beagle with floppy ears, and cannot walk nor talk when first switched on.
Eventually converses with some 1,000 phrases suited to the “character” it develops as the owner cheers it up and strokes it.
It also keeps a diary using pictures taken with its built-in camera when it is in the right mood. The owner can peek at the diary the following day, reading what comment AIBO made.
It’s robot-pet blogging.
“AIBO owners have sometimes asked us what AIBO is feeling like in certain situations as it was not clear. They will be pleased to have this speaking function,” said Kiyoko Kondo at Sony’s Entertainment Robot Company.
“You would become more emotionally involved,” she added.
Sony starts taking orders Thursday, with a price tag of 194,250 yen (1,720 dollars) in Japan including a five-percent sales tax.
Depending on the character it develops, a playful AIBO will try to come out when enclosed by cardboard while a pampered AIBO will call its owner for help.
The new model is also more like its flesh-and-blood equivalent, scratching its ears with a hind leg, yawning and cooing in response to gentle stroking.
But it also comes with several lives. Owners can skip the maturing process and make AIBO an adult instantly or switch the adult back to a pup to enjoy the growing-up stage.
It was unknown how much the accompanying robot cat would cost. Sony did not comment on whether robot fleas would be included or sold as an add-on.If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.