Sony Corp. said Wednesday its artificial intelligence-powered Aibo robot dog will soon be able to remotely monitor children and the elderly through a camera in its nose.
Aibo can store the facial photos and names of up to 10 people and send images of them to remote devices such as smartphones as it roams around its owner's residence. The new service will start in mid-February.
The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant also said the robot dog will be offered in a brown-and-white model on Feb. 1 in addition to the currently available white model.
It will tie up with security service company Secom Co. for a new service in the future, it said.
The robotic dog made a comeback in Japan in January last year with the upgraded version of its predecessor AIBO, which debuted in 1999 and was discontinued in 2006.
Aibo uses two cameras -- in its nose and above its tail -- and a range of sensors to discern its owner and the environment.
Cloud-based AI enables Aibo to respond to affection shown by the owner, such as praise, smiles and stroking, shaping its behavior as time goes on. It can learn what kind of responses make its owner happy, and develop these.
According to Sony, Aibo sales reached 20,000 units as of last July and remain solid. It carries a price tag of 198,000 yen ($1,800), excluding tax, plus 90,000 yen for a three-year cloud subscription.