TOKYO • Sony's puppy-size robot dog Aibo, equipped with cameras, artificial intelligence and Internet capability, can now remotely check on family members, children and even pets, the Japanese electronics giant said yesterday.
The 30cm-long robo-pup with flapping ears and cutting-edge LED eyes will roam around the home at pre-designated times looking for family members.
However, the latest canine technology does not come cheap, with each dog costing nearly US$3,000 (S$4,080) for a three-year package, including software services such as data storage.
The owner will receive progress reports via smartphone through the service, which will be offered from next month in conjunction with home security firm Secom.
Project chief Izumi Kawanishi said at the Sony headquarters in Tokyo: "You will be able to check how remote family members are doing or what children are doing when they get home. We aim to make you feel a bit more secure by living with Aibo and having fun."
The gadget will also be able to watch over real pets in the future, thanks to image recognition and learning capabilities, he said.
The latest Aibo model, which can display "emotions", was released in January last year and sales hit 20,000 in the first six months, according to Sony.
In the era of the Internet of Things and facing a rapidly ageing population, Japan has mobilised rice cookers, electric pots and other household devices to keep watch on elderly people living alone.
They transmit data to families living far away on how often they have been used. If they have not been used for a while, it could be regarded as an ominous sign.