More than a decade ago, Sony stunned the world with the release of Aibo, an artificially intelligent robot that behaved like a real dog.But the robo-dogs were discontinued in 2006 as part of a massive cost-cutting scheme from the Japanese technology giant.Now, Sony has revived Aibo, a robot that learns how to interact with its owner and is 'capable of building loving relationships', according to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai.The new version of the 30-centimetre (one foot) hound will launch in Japan in January but will not come cheap, priced at around £1,300 ($1,750).Aibo is billed as a pet that behaves like a puppy using artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and interact with its owner and surroundings.Sony's new 'Aibo' is ivory-white and puppy-sized, with flapping black ears, a wagging tail and the ability to roll its eyes.It is now equipped with new sensing and movement technologies as well as far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog's personality.It comes with an array of sensors, cameras and microphones and boasts internet connectivity, allowing owners to play with the pet remotely via smartphone.It was announced yesterday at a Sony news briefing in Tokyo, with the firm saying it is considering sales beyond Japan in future.Sony rolled out the first-generation Aibo in 1999, with the initial batch of 3,000 selling out in just 20 minutes, despite a hefty price tag of nearly £1,650 ($2,200).Over the following years, more than 150,000 units were sold, with numerous models ranging from gleaming metallic-silver versions to round-faced cub-like models.But by 2006, Sony was in trouble, with a broken business model and fierce competition from rivals in all fields.The Aibo, an expensive and somewhat frivolous luxury, had to go.The company kept its 'Aibo clinic' open until March 2014, but then told dedicated owners they were on their own, prompting retired Sony engineers to offer repairs.'It was a difficult decision to stop the project in 2006, but we continued development in AI and robotics,' CEO Kazuo Hirai said.'I asked our engineers a year and a half ago to develop (new) AIBO because I strongly believe robots capable of building loving relationships with people help realise Sony's mission (to inspire).'The reborn Aibo features new actuator technology allowing it move more smoothly and naturally like a real dog.With sensing and AI technologies, Aibo can run toward its owner and detect smiles and words of praise, and can remember what actions please the owner.Its eyes are made of organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays making it capable of diverse expressions.Sony said it aims to sell at least as many new Aibo as the original, without giving a time frame. It also said it is considering overseas sales.Competitors of the new product include Toyota's Kirobo Mini, a robot which its makers say has 'emotional value', as well as a £300 ($400) price tag.It comes equipped with a camera, microphone and Bluetooth, and connects to a smartphone, which needs to be installed with a special software application.Kirobo turns its head toward a voice, although sometimes that function fails as its voice recognition is far from perfect.At just 10-centimeters (4-inch) tall, doll-like Kirobo Mini supposedly has the smarts of a 5-year-old.Its name comes from 'kibo', or 'hope', and 'robot'.Meanwhile, Japanese corporation SoftBank Robotics is behind Pepper, the expressive humanoid robot designed to identify and react to human emotions.Equipped with a camera and sensors, Pepper, which is 4ft tall and weighs 62lb, costs 198,000 yen ($1,600).Pepper can react to human emotions by offering comfort, or laughing if told a joke and the robot has the ability to learn.
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The little pills do the trick for more than two-thirds of men with Viagra protects the heart (ED). They also work for guys who simply need them for a short time to get their “confidence back,” says Michael Eisenberg, M.D., director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University.