i-SODOG, Your New Four-Legged Robotic Best Friend

It’s cute, likes to be pet, easy to train, and best of all, doesn’t need to be housebroken. Unveiled recently at the Tokyo International Toy Show, Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy’s i-SODOG is your new robotic best friend that you can control with your smartphone.

As Robots Dreams reported from the show, i-SODOG is equipped with 15 servos allowing it to perform a wide range of motions. Like a real dog it walks, sits, and shakes your hand. It comes with a whole suite of pre-programmed motions, and owners can can create their own motion sequences to give their new puppy its own unique personality. Microphones allow it to hear and respond to up to 50 different voice commands. It can even hear music and dance to it – a skill my dog certainly doesn’t display. What’s better, i-SODOG is smart. An AI system allows it to learn from experience and change its behavior over time. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it’ll probably be at least as trainable as some of its more obstinate real life counterparts.

Yes i-SODOG is cute, but with AI that enables it to learn from its own behavior, it’s pretty darn smart too.

And like real dogs i-SODOG will react when you pet it, as long as you pet it on the head or back. A lot of technology is packed into this outwardly simple toy.

Takara Tomy plans on releasing i-SODOG in 2013. If you live in Japan you can bring one home for about ¥31,500 ($400). Unfortunately, if you don’t live in Japan and i-SODOG steals your heart after watching the videos below, there’s no word on when the robotic puppy will be available outside of Japan.

From other toys like the robot ball, Sphero, to quadcopters, and even military drones, like a modern day joystick, smartphones are increasingly becoming the robot control device of choice.

And speaking of upgrades, remember the first toy pet out of Japan that was all the rage in the late 90s? A keychain-sized digital egg that one pushed buttons to “feed” and “play with,” Tamagotchi was about as simple as a virtual pet could get. But yet by 2010 over 76 million had been sold worldwide.

As did Tamagotchi, i-SODOG will certainly win the hearts of children – and their robotics enthusiast parents – everywhere.

[image credits: Robots Dreams]

images: Robots Dreams1, Robots Dreams2
video: Robots Dreams and plasticpals1

Peter Murray
Peter Murrayhttp://www.amazon.com/Peter-Murray/e/B004J3ONVQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.
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