SONY’s AIBO (1999)
1999 marked a turning point for the world of entertainment when Sony introduced the electronic robot AIBO in Japan. AIBO, referred to as the Entertainment Robot means “companion” and is an acronym for Artificial Intelligence RoBOt.
Sony has developed two versions of AIBO, the first run ERS-110 and the newer ERS-111. Both of the models have proven to be a large success. When the first 5,000 ERS-110 models were introduced 3,000 sold in Japan within twenty minutes on the Internet. The 2,000 models that remained were made available exclusively for the United States and were sold within four days on the Internet. Demand for the new AIBO ERS-111, which has a 64-bit microprocessor and 32 bytes of memory, rose immensely. Ten thousand ERS-111 AIBO models were made available despite receiving 135,000 orders. “The digital ‘bot is more dexterous than its predecessor: In addition to all the usual tricks—heeling or chasing a ball—it does a little dance and waves a front paw on hearing its name. Speech-recognition software lets it learn up to 50 commands” (International Business, # 3709, page 170). The cost for AIBO in the United States has remained thus far steady at $2,500 with the option to purchase a $500 performer kit. AIBO is attempting to become popular all over the world, however, 90% of AIBO purchases still come from Japan.