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Sony releases an API for its robot dog, aibo

Sony's robo-puppy aibo. (Source: Sony)
Sony's robo-puppy aibo. (Source: Sony)
Sony started selling its first consumer-grade robot puppy, aibo, quite some time ago. Therefore, you'd think the OEM would have also released advanced development tools so that the more tech-savvy of this product's owners could have really made it their own by now. However, this has only happened with the latest app update for this device.

aibo is Sony's innovative robot dog. This may seem like a seriously cyberdystopia-genre use of electronics, but is also possibly the best-known and most advanced application of e-pets available on the market today. In addition, it may be a valuable source of companionship for some techy consumers living in situations into which real companion animals can't be brought. 

Sony's aibo is capable of a range of tricks and learned behavioral quirks. However, they are most often determined by pre-programmed AI or the Sony My aibo app, and may thus be only so particular to the individual user. The latest update to the software may help change that, and also help those who aspire to become robo-dog developers achieve their dreams. 

This update - version 2.50 for the ERS1000 aibo model - opens access to an API for the ultimate toy puppy for the first time. It has 2 basic levels of difficulty: aibo Visual Programming, a relatively elementary interface that allows novices to invent new tricks for their aibo, and the Developer Program, which allows more experienced owners to augment their e-dog's disposition with full apps and other tweaks.

The new update also comes with an additional setting in the My aibo App. It allows a given owner to feed their aibo specific meals, called aibocrisps, for the first time. They are acquired using "bonus coins", which are available in a certain quantity for free, and can also be earned by signing in or attending certain virtual events.

However, those with particularly hungry aibos can also exchange cash for these coins. Hopefully, this will not be allowed to become a microtransaction problem for any user.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-11-17 (Update: 2019-11-18)