What do you do with a $2,900 robot dog?
Sony’s Aibo won’t help wake you up out of bed when it detects daylight. It won’t use its internet connection to deliver the morning news report or use its cameras to watch for intruders. Voice commands won’t cue up playlists or set reminders or even fetch a pair of slippers on Amazon.
This one-of-a-kind robotic pet doesn’t act like other smart-home gadgets. Packed with sensors, cameras and a wagging tail, it instead will trot around your home programmed for just one mission: companionship.
There was one catch with my test. Sony didn’t have the “My aibo” app ready for me to try. The app, for Android and iOS, is how owners will set the dog’s gender and eye color, teach it new tricks, and even take photos with the camera in its nose. I could interact with Aibo using my voice and touch — and a reviewer’s guide booklet was my cheat sheet to learning possible voice commands. (There were more than 50!)
If you’re curious to adopt your own Aibo, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to know, and lessons from my brief time with the bot.