Sony to Start ‘Foster Parent Program’ for Aibo Dog Robots

Courtesy of Sony Group Corp.
Aibo dog robots launched by Sony Group Corp. in 2018

Sony Group Corp. has started a “foster parent program” for unwanted Aibo dog robots to transfer them from their owners to hospitals and nursing care facilities.

Aiming to increase the use of Aibos, the company will connect owners who do not want to throw away their robot dogs with facilities that will use them to give comfort to patients and others.

Sony receives the robots from owners and performs work on them, such as deleting personal data. Then, the company will offer the Aibos to facilities that want them. Sony in December will begin seeking facilities that want to join the program.

Aibo is equipped with artificial intelligence and develops through interactions with owners and other activities. It is capable of identifying and distinguishing people and reading facial expressions. The robot was launched in 1999, but production was suspended in 2006 due to sluggish sales. However, a new model was launched in 2018.