Sony Loosens Leash on AIBO Robot Dog

Who says you can't teach an old robotic dog new tricks?

As of next month, Sony Corp will offer free software kits for its plastic pet dog, called AIBO, which will give owners many more training options.

AIBO will even be able to meow rather than bark.

Up to now, most AIBO owners could only play with a pre-trained computerized pet whose behavior was largely defined by Sony's programming, but the new software kit will allow experienced users to teach the dog any amount of new tricks. The release of the development kit, called OPEN-R SDK, is an about-face for the Japanese audiovisual electronics giant, which had tried to cage in independent developers who were hacking into the AIBO's electronic innards and making what Sony claimed were unauthorized modifications.

"Sony wants to actively promote OPEN-R architecture for entertainment robots by highlighting its ability to modify the robot's functionality," it said in a statement, essentially admitting that open development would help widen the appeal of the robot.

Sony says the development kit, which allows AIBO movements to be written in the C++ programming language, is intended for noncommercial use. Sony will also create a Web site where developers can exchange their custom-made AIBO programs.

News source: Yahoo! News

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