The program is regifting the robot dog companion to medical facilities and care homes as an emotional support tool

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

September 15, 2023

1 Min Read
The Aibo robot dog
Sony

Sony Japan is launching a new sustainability program giving a second lease on life to its robot dog, Aibo.

The “foster parent” program allows users to donate their old Aibo’s for regifting to medical facilities and nursing homes, where they will be used as emotional support tools. 

The Aibo series was launched in 2018 as a reboot of its “autonomous entertainment” robot dogs from the 1990’s. The design leverages AI, machine learning and voice recognition to allow the dog to recognize its owners and interact with them, as well as sensors along its body allowing it to respond when users pet it.

According to a press release, Sony will initially test the donated Aibo and perform any necessary repairs, before sending it on to its new home. 

“Aibo is being used in fields such as medicine, nursing care and education,” a translation of the company statement said. “In joint research with medical institutions, we have found that interacting with Aibo can have a positive impact on patients, their families and staff, and these expectations have led to many requests for the introduction of Aibo. 

“The "Aibo foster parent program" is an initiative designed to make Aibo more sustainable.”

While Aibo was not originally designed as an emotional support robot, it has been increasingly deployed for this purpose. Projects are currently underway to test the impact of Aibo on patients with autism, patients  undergoing long-term treatment at pediatric medical facilities and as a psychological support to long-term care patients.

Related:ChatGPT Gives Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dog a Voice

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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