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April 9, 2019

Stepping into the future of robotics and AI at Milan Design Week

Sony demonstrates its vision in a new exhibition; exploring how robots will enrich people's lives and society

    • `Affinity in Autonomy' envisions a world in which intelligence and technology is integrated more into our day to day lives; it looks further at the relationship between humans and robots
    • The exhibition explores the emotion, companionship and behaviour of robotics; how humans interact, co-exist both now and in the future and looks at the impact on our senses through technology
    • Since the creation of the world first Entertainment Robot, `AIBO' in 1999, Sony has continued to grow its knowledge and understanding of AI and Robotics
    See the video

    The exhibition will run from 9th April until the 14th April, and explores Sony's vision for life-enriching robotics.

    It looks at the future relationship humans can develop with robots capable of emotion; setting out to show that when humans feel that our robotic friends are alive, we will begin to feel an affinity toward them.

    Attendees at the exhibition walk through different sensory `zones' examining five key interactions between humans and robotics -

    1. Awakening:

    The first zone heightens sensory awareness whereby visitors experience a new type of intelligence shown on the wall embodied within light and sound, visitors will be guided on a path to the future looking ahead at how we will interact with robots in unexpected and unimaginable ways.

    2. Autonomous:

    This space explores independence and freewill of robotics with a pendulum taking centre stage; guests are detected by the autonomous beings as they enter. It may make visitors question their feelings and responses in this situation.

    3. Accordance:

    Moving into a zone inhabited by `spheres', each of which has its own dis-tinct personality. They interlink, cooperate, and act in accordance with those around them. The unpredictable movements of these robots can spark the formation of communities.

    4. Affiliation:

    Through continual interaction with humans, robots will evolve both intellectually and emotionally - something experienced in this room. Starting to understand this symbiotic relationship, guests can imagine a future where robotics will have the appearance of being more alive.

    5. Association:

    Robotics will play an integral role in our lives, society and infrastructure in the coming years. The final part of the exhibition experience will ask, what are your thoughts on the future of affinity in autonomy?

    Yutaka Hasegawa, Head of Creative Center comments, "`Affinity in Autonomy' shows the evolving relationship between humans and technology; a glimpse into what the future of AI x Robotics could look like - exploring robotic intelligence and emotion.

    "Since its inception back in 1961, Sony has been at forefront of design and innovation by keeping true to the founders' doctrine of `Do what has never been done before' and `Always stay one step ahead'.

    "Since the creation of the world first Entertainment Robot, `AIBO' in 1999, Sony has continued to grow its knowledge and understanding of AI. The exhibition draws on Sony's credentials in this field; with the evolution, emotion and behaviour of robotics prompting learning, growth and development with companionship playing a part."

    Event Information:

    Main technologies used in the exhibition:

    Sony's leading image sensor technologies are used in the exhibits of "Affinity in Autonomy". Stereo cameras with back-illuminated Time-of-Flight image sensor and CMOS image sensor for sensing applications equipped with global shutter enable new interactive experiences by sensing conditions surrounding human and robotics.

    • Back-illuminated Time-of-Flight image sensor
      With ToF technology, the distance to an object is measured by the time it takes for light from a light source to reach the object and reflect back to the sensor. ToF image sensors detect distance information for every pixel, resulting in highly accurate depth maps.
      The new sensor which adopts back-illuminated CMOS image sensor architecture allows for more accurate detection of the reflected light because of improved sensor sensitivity.
    • CMOS image sensor for sensing applications equipped with global shutter function(IMX418)
      The new product builds on the advantages of Sony's CMOS image sensor equipped with a global shutter function without focal plane distortion, with lower power consumption.
      This product employs an angle of view with a 1:1 aspect ratio, which minimizes image information loss due to device tilt, whether the camera is mounted on the front, back, top, bottom, left or right of an HMD, drone, or autonomous robot.

    About the Sony Creative Center

    Sony has always been at the forefront of design and became one of the first companies to create an in-house creative studio. Since its inception in 1961, Sony Design has forged its reputation as a leading and award-winning global design team. Today the val-ue and contribution has expanded beyond purely product design, with a growing busi-ness portfolio in new domains such as medical, financial, education and entertainment. Designers strive to transform functional value and innovation into emotional experience, this encompasses what we refer to as the `Perceptual Experience Project'.

    For more information Sony Design, visit here.


    "AI" means any functionality or its enabling technology that performs information processing for various purposes that people perceive as intelligent, and that is embodied by machine learning based on data, or by rules or knowledge extracted in some methods.

    The Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines

    In September 2018, Sony formulated the Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines which aims to empower lives and ensure safety and privacy when using with AI products.

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