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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 12:13 GMT
Dancing Aibo debuts
Sony Aibo ERS 220, AP
The new Aibo has a more robotic look
Sony has launched the latest incarnation of its Aibo robotic pet.

This model has a more angular, robotic look than its predecessors, which Sony has tried to make as animal-like as possible.

Owners can get a look at the world through the ERS-220's eyes using a separate add-on package that connects the robot to a PC via a radio link. The robot can even be made to dance along to music.

The robot is due to go on sale in late November.

Robot rover

Ever since they were first unveiled in 1999, Sony's Aibo has been a big hit with gadget-lovers everywhere. Many spend hours playing with the robot or teaching it new tricks.

Sony Aibo showing off, AP
The ERS 220 struts its stuff
Sony says it has sold 100,000 of the robots worldwide. The latest version of the robot, the ERS-220, is likely to prove just as big a hit because Sony is making the robot even more customisable.

The robot looks slightly different to the earlier versions. It has an antenna in place of ears and a pop-up light on its head that springs up when the robo-dog sees or hears anything it likes.

The robot can also recognise more spoken commands than its predecessors.

Turbo-dog

By contrast the generation of Aibos released before the ERS-220, called Latte and Macaron, were much more rounded and looked more like real animals.

At the same time, Sony is releasing software packs that can change the temperament of the electronic pet.

The Navigator 2 software pack lets owners see the world through the digital camera inside an Aibo's nose and lets the robot be controlled via a wireless data link at a distance of up to 90 metres (295 feet).

The Explorer pack turbocharges the robot and makes it produce a stream of sounds and exaggerated movements.

Europeans who want to snap up an ERS-220 can order them from 12 November for 1,800 euros (1,105).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Nicholas Babin from Sony
demonstrates what the ERS-220 can do
See also:

11 Sep 01 | Artificial intelligence
Life with a robot dog
01 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Robot pets get domesticated
16 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Robo-cat is out of the bag
10 Sep 01 | Artificial intelligence
Timeline: Real robots
16 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Robofish splash down in Tokyo
15 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Chatty computer wins again
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