Sony has introduced the “Aibo Foster Parent” program for its $2,900 robot dogs as a way to make them more sustainable. Owners whose basic plans have been canceled now have the opportunity to donate their Aibos to the program. Sony will then refurbish the donated units as necessary and donate them to medical facilities, foster homes, and other organizations.
The Aibo robot dogs involved in this program are the newer 2019 ERS-1000 units, which are a reboot of Sony’s popular “entertainment” robotic dogs from the late 1990s. While it is not a fully charitable initiative, Sony will charge “foster parents” an undisclosed fee for the service. Additionally, depending on their condition, some donated units may be used as parts for other Aibo robots.
The Aibo robots are capable of performing various tricks, such as standing on their hind legs and greeting their owners at the door. They have been designed to “mature” over time, similar to real dogs, and offer a web-based interface for programming custom actions. Equipped with a range of sensors, they respond to voice and touch, and can even recognize specific individuals. This makes them ideal as emotional support devices and allows them to be used in facilities that do not permit real animals.
The “Aibo Foster Parent” program not only helps to extend the lifespan of these robotic dogs but also serves as an effective means to reduce e-waste. By giving the units a second home where they can provide emotional support and companionship, Sony aims to make the Aibo more sustainable and enhance the well-being of individuals in medical facilities, foster homes, and other settings.
– Sony: Aibo Foster Parent program improves Aibo lifecycle
– Sony: Aibo ERS-1000 product page