After years of technological innovation since the first generation of AIBO was released in 1999, development of the new aibo began by focusing on vitality. It was agreed that aibo would be an object of affection, instead of anything strictly practical. Most of all, the design must somehow bring to life a creature that now has its own desires and can express itself through tricks and gestures.
The kind of character sought in aibo would make owners want to pet and hold it. Despite the plastic materials used, aibo would seem soft. The OLED eyes are quite expressive and natural-looking. As for how aibo moves, this was inspired by a wholly new UX approach. We took a cue from how real dogs express themselves, which is why aibo can interact with people so well.
Aibo applies AI in a range of perceptions, processing, and actions, which guides its behavior. Moreover, each aibo has a different personality, and as an autonomous creature, each develops in various ways over time. A priority in this respect was having new stories unfold between aibo and people. These relationships were carefully studied by our design team, who imagined how owners would feel. In our awareness of relationships between physical things and users, product development was quite different this time.
The future we hope to trace out is one where people's lives are enriched by the AI and robots they spend time with, and where this coexistence makes the world a more peaceful place. Nothing would make us happier than for people to say it all started with aibo. That is exactly the role Sony should fulfill.