Sony has unleashed the latest version of its Aibo robot dog, the ERS-7, claiming that new technology makes the robo-mutt more lifelike, communicative and entertaining than ever.
Wireless local area network technology allows the robot to 'interact' with its owner remotely via a PC or mobile phone.
For example, the owner can send an email instruction to Aibo asking it to take a digital photo and send it back to a mobile phone.
The hound's onboard memory enables it to retain the 'personality' that it will develop over its lifecycle, and an improved design has refined its looks to give it a wider variety of emotions.
"Aibo is evolving from a source of fascination and entertainment into a more functional, endearing companion," said Nicolas Babin, director of Sony Entertainment Robot Europe, in a statement.
"The ERS-7 is a fantastic step forward for the Aibo concept, aiming to facilitate interaction between humans and robots.
"It opens up a world of possibilities for Aibo enthusiasts and it is a notable step in the development of artificial intelligence as well as domestic robots."
Sony has developed new software called 'Aibo Mind' that places all of Aibo's applications onto one 32MB Memory Stick.
The company claims that, in autonomous mode, the dog can recognise its owner's face and voice as well as locate its energy station to charge itself.
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