Robot Dogs Today
We humans are fascinated by robots. The idea that a machine can imitate a lifelike being seems to thrill the human senses and the science behind producing such machines has reached advanced stages that boggle the mind. From Robot Pets to drones that imitate animals, we have come to the point where our machines can be made to act like the lifeforms we are seeking to imitate. Robot dogs are an attempt to bring about a machine that can act like man's best friend. There are numerous models that have been developed in recent years and here's a look at some of these modern marvels.
Tekno the Robotic Puppy - DalmatianBuy Now
Sony AIBO ERS-210Buy Now
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Man's Best Friend?
You might think that a robot dog would be a recent idea but you could be surprised. As early as the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York the Westinghouse exhibit featured a mechanical dog, Sparko who performed tricks for the audience while his "master", Electro repeated recorded words to the audience. In the 1973 movie, Sleeper, Woody Allen had a robot dog named Rags that ran around at the feet of other robototrons in the household.
Sony electronics produced a computerized dog AIBO that could bark, speak over a thousand words and provide a dogs view from a camera chip in its head. The sales of the robot dog were a success with all models being bought almost immediately upon release but Sony decided to discontinue the model in order to make the company more profitable. There were three generations of AIBO from 1999 to 2006 that sold for about $2,000 with the final model, the ERS-7M2 being released in 2005. The Sony AIBO was so popular that a four legged robotic soccer league was formed for the AIBO and it ran from 1999 to 2008.There is an International AIBO Convention that takes place every year at the Sony Robotics Tower where there are still AIBO ads, displays and software sales for the amazing robotic dog.
The Genibo QD is pet robot dog that is very similar to Aibo. This robodog is more like a dog in behavior, being able to integrate voice commands with internal sensors and a video camera which allowws it to share it's "feelings" with it's owner. It can respond to over 100 voice commands like come, and sit and it's mood will change to express things like happiness, sadness and sleepiness. The robot was designed in Korea and has been very popular since the introduction of it's prototype in 2006.
Hasbro makes an extensive line of Robot Pets including some different robot dogs. The difference in these robotic friends is that they are made to be more lifelike with a dog anatomy and fur like a real dog might have. They have a line of Walking Puppies, some newborn puppies and a few cute cuddly models that children love. They have lifelike movements and doglike personalities. These are a good gift for small children and can liven up any household!
FurReal Friends at Amazon
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The I-Cybie was developed by Tiger Electronics out of Hong Kong. The Chinese addition to the Robot Dog market produced an economical version that was meant to look more like a dog than it's Japanese and Korean competitors. The toy Company Silverlit built the first prototype in 1999 and presented it at the American International Toy Fair in New York. This toy is much cheaper by far and is also less sophisticated in it's movements and capabilities. Still it is a marvel of engineering and a great robot toy that can be an amazing gift to give a child or adult.
Ford Fiesta Dogbot - Ford Fiesta
Ford has aired a series of commercials featuring Dogbot the stupid robotic dog. It's thrust is to show smart features on the car verses the dumb antics of the robot dog.
Techno The Robotic Puppy
This is quite an advanced Robot Pet that can do a wide variety of dog-like functions. It barks and talks , plays music and can dance. It responds to events around it and has sensors for different kinds of movements. It will develop emotions as it gets older and learns everyday tricks just like a real puppy. Kids love this robotic toy and they are still available on Amazon. Check it out!
RC Smart Dog
This is a cute and inexpensive robot dog that can sing and dance and tell stories. This model is less complex but is surprising in it's abilities. It is touch sensitive and reacts to voice commands. It makes puppy sounds and responds to petting. It's a great robot toy for children and will give a child hours of fascinating play.
I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I'm rooting for the machines.
AlphaDog - Robot Dogs
Not all Robot Dogs are mechanical pets or novelties. The Alpha Dog is designed for war by Boston Dynamics. This prototype was built with funding from DARPA in hopes to bring these beasts into combat as a soldiers aid. A branch of the Pentagon, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on the development of what it calls "biodynotics". This involves making robots that imitate different types of animals in their ability to run, crawl and fly. The research has produced robotic snakes, insects, birds, and even a robotic lobster that is capable of probing rocks under water for mines.
The Alpha Dog is a continuing work in progress and has been equipped with sensors that allow it to navigate terrain and recognize humans. The newest version allows a military operator to use a touchscreen device to issue commands to the robot, and can also be used as beacon for following. The Pentagon intends to be able to use the Alpha Dog in combat as a means to transport gear and devices for battlefield conditions.