Do you own a Sony ERS-1000 robot dog companion, but have decided to stop renewing its $300 cloud subscription? Not sure what to do now with your $3,000 mechanical pal? You’re in luck, as Sony has just announced the “Aibo Foster Parent” program, which allows ERS-1000 owners to donate their robo-dogs to worthy causes.
The Aibo ERS-1000 was released in 2018 as a reboot of the popular Aibo line of robot dogs from the late 1990’s. According to the announcement, the Aibo Foster Parent program is an effort to “make Aibo more sustainable.” Donated devices will tested and repaired before being given to nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities that could make use of the Aibo as an emotional support companion. The company notes that “foster parents” will be charged an undisclosed fee for taking part in the program, and that some of these funds may be used towards the repair and refurbishing of the donated units.
The announcement notes that if the pre-loved robot’s condition is too poor, it may be scrapped and used for parts to repair other Aibo devices. While it wasn’t marketed on release exclusively as an emotion support companion, the ERS-1000 model has the capacity to learn new tricks, recognize and greet its owner, and even “mature” over time, thanks to the AI included in its cloud subscription program.