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May 11, 1999

Sony Launches Four-Legged Entertainment Robot

"AIBO" Creates a New Market for Robot-Based Entertainment
Limited Edition for Sale Exclusively over the Internet

    (Tokyo, Japan) -- Sony Corporation today announced the launch of a four-legged entertainment robot called "AIBO" [ERS-110] and an "AIBO Performer Kit" [ERF-510] motion editor that makes it possible for users to create original movements for "AIBO," the first robot designed for home entertainment purposes. Sony aims to begin building an entirely new market for robot entertainment by making "AIBO" available to residents of Japan and the United States of America in limited quantities while maintaining close contact with the users. All sales will be handled exclusively over the Internet through the following home page.

    Product Description Orders
    Retail Price
    (excluding tax)
    "AIBO" Entertainment Robot [ERS-110], Station, AC Adapter, Li-Ion Battery [ERA-110B] (set of 2), Sound Commander remote control unit, 8MB pre-recorded Memory Stick, colored ball, and other accessories. June 1, 1999
    09:00 JST
    Early July 250,000 yen
    in Japan
    3,000 Units
    for Japan
    June 1, 1999
    09:00 EDT
    Early July USD$2500
    in the USA
    2,000 Units
    for the USA
    "AIBO Performer Kit" Motion Editor [ERF-510], 8MB Memory Stick, Memory Stick PC Adapter Card June 1, 1999
    09:00 JST
    Early July 50,000 yen
    in Japan
    June 1, 1999
    09:00 EDT
    Early July USD$450
    in the USA
    • *this link is no longer active and a revised page does not exist.

    "AIBO" [ERS-110] is an autonomous robot that acts both in response to external stimuli and according to its own judgement. "AIBO" can express various emotions, grow through learning, and communicate with human beings to bring an entirely new form of entertainment into the home.

    Not only is "AIBO" capable of four-legged locomotion by virtue of the 3 degrees-of-freedom in each of its legs, but it can also perform other complex movements using its mouth, tail, and head, which have 1, 2, and 3 degrees-of freedom, respectively. "AIBO" incorporates various sensors and autonomous programs that enable it to behave like a living creature, reacting to external stimuli and acting on its own judgement. "AIBO's" capacity for learning and growth is based on state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology that shapes the robot's behavior and response as a result of repeated communication with the user and interaction with the external environment.

    The "AIBO Performer Kit" [ERF-510] includes an easy-to-use motion editor tool that allows users to create original motions for "AIBO". A graphical user interface that makes it simple to create motion programs for "AIBO" on a personal computer.

    Main Features of "AIBO" [ERS-110]

    1. Autonomous Judgement and Response

    "AIBO" incorporates emotions such as happiness and anger and instincts such as the need for companionship. It operates autonomously in response to external stimuli and its own temperament and express emotions as well. "AIBO" is equipped with adaptive learning and growth capabilities that allow each unit to develop a unique personality including behavior shaped by the praise and scolding of its owner. Moreover, "AIBO" features 'game' and 'performance' modes that allow the user to give instructions to the robot using a tone-based remote control unit called the "Sound Commander." Users can also create motion data using a PC-based motion editor tool, which is sold separately, for the performance mode.

    2. Smooth Movement with 18 Degrees-of-Freedom

    A total of 18 degrees-of-freedom (1 for mouth, 2 for tail, 3 for head, and 3 for each leg) allow "AIBO" to walk smoothly on four legs as well as perform other complex motions.

    3. Memory Stick for Easy Replacement of Programs

    A pre-recorded 8MB "Memory Stick" comes as an accessory to "AIBO". It is used to store the software modules that control "AIBO's" movements and data that is generated during the learning process. "Memory Stick" makes it easy for users to insert new software modules into "AIBO," including original motion programs created by the user using the motion editor (sold separately).

    4. Modular Software Based on the OPEN-R Architecture

    "AIBO" employs modular software based on the OPEN-R architecture to facilitate the quick and easy addition and/or replacement of individual software modules.

    5. Advanced Sensors Provide Increased Autonomy

    The use of sensors, microphones, and speakers that roughly correspond to the sensory organs of a living creature make it possible for "AIBO" to communicate and react to external stimuli with a high degree of autonomy.

    • Touch Sensor
      For recognizing tactile stimulation like being pet or hit
    • Color CCD Camera
      For detecting the shapes and colors of objects when approaching or avoiding them
    • Range Finder
      For detecting the distance to objects
    • LED Lamps
      For expressing happiness (green) and anger (red)
    • Mini Stereo Microphone
      For detecting the direction of a sound source and hearing sound from the Sound Commander remote control
    • Miniature Speaker
      Allows "AIBO" to make sounds
    • Acceleration Sensor
      For use in maintaining balance and regaining balance when recovering from a fall
    • Angular Velocity Sensor
      For detecting rotary motion

    6. Other Features

    • Powerful 64-bit RISC processor
    • Equipped with 16MB of Main Memory
    • Employs Sony's "Aperios" Real-time Operating System
    • Comes with two special Li-Ion Batteries

    Main Features of [ERF-510]

    1. Simple Creation of Original Motions for "AIBO"

    Even users with no prior robotics or programming experience will find it easy to create original motions for "AIBO." Through the use of a graphical user interface, users can manipulate a 3-Dimensional model of "AIBO" to edit the robot's movements in a manner that resembles the editing of video footage. In addition, sound editor software already on the market makes it possible to create sounds in the MIDI and WAVE file formats and use them to replace "AIBO's" original sounds.

    2. Incorporates Timeline Editing, Simulation Features

    All of the robot's motions can be displayed on a computer screen along with a timeline feature, which allows users to confirm each of the motions, edit them very efficiently, change their order, and add new motions. Moreover, the software can conduct a simulation to confirm that none of the motions exceed the mechanical limitations of the robot's limbs and that none of the moving parts will collide with one another. The simulation also allows the user to check other factors, such as the speed of the robot's movement.

    3. Supports "Memory Stick" IC Recording Media

    User can store newly created motion data on a "Memory Stick" for easy transfer into "AIBO" or exchange with friends. Furthermore, "Memory Stick" includes features that ensure that data is stored correctly.

    [ERS-110] Technical Specifications

    CPU 64-bit RISC Processor
    Main Memory 16MB
    Program Memory 8MB Memory Stick (Accessory)
    Moving Parts Mouth: 1 degree-of-freedom
    Head: 3 degrees-of-freedom
    Legs: 3 degrees-of-freedom (x 4)
    Tail: 2 degrees-of-freedomspacesTotal: 18
    Video Input 180,000 pixel color CCD camera (x 1) Head
    Audio Input Stereo microphone (one on each side) Head
    Audio Output Speaker (x 1) Head
    Heat Detector Heat Sensor (x 2) Torso
    Range Finder Infra-red range finding sensor (x 1) Head
    Acceleration Detector Spatial acceleration sensor (x 1) Legs
    Rotation Detector Angular velocity sensor (x 1) Legs
    Contact Detectors Touch sensor (x 1), Switch (x 4) Head, Legs
    Power Source DC7.2V (Lithium Ion Battery [ERA-110B])
    Energy Consumption 12.6W (autonomous mode)
    Operating Time Approx. 1.5 hours (using fully charged battery)
    Dimensions (l x w x h) Approx. 274 x 156 x 266mm (not including tail)
    Weight About 1.4kg (Body Only)
    About 1.6kg (Including Memory Stick and Battery)

    [ERF-510] Main Features

    Motion Editing Functions (3 Types)
    1. Exchange and replacement of motion data
    2. Editing of motion data
    3. Creation of original motion data
    Simulation Functions
    1. Ensures that limbs do not exceed mechanical limitations
    2. Confirms of that limbs will not collide
    3. Checks the speed of each limb
    Others Timeline editing function, Memory Stick data check, etc.

    [ERF-510] System Requirements

    Computing Platform IBM PC/AT compatible
    CPU Pentium®200Mhz equivalent or faster
    OS Windows®95 or Windows®98
    Memory 32MB or greater
    PC Card Slot Type II PC Card
    Display Mode 800 x 600 resolution or greater
    Display Color Capability 16-bit High Color or greater
    Other CD-ROM Drive (For Installation)
    • *"AIBO," the "AIBO" logo, "Memory Stick" and "OPEN-R" are trademarks of Sony Corporation.
    • *Pentium® is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
    • *Windows95® and Windows98® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
      Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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