Sony Isnt Just Toying Around

In Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," hapless earthlings learn that laboratory mice have been experimenting on humans while deceiving them into believing the reverse.

In Douglas Adams "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," hapless earthlings learn that laboratory mice have been experimenting on humans while deceiving them into believing the reverse. A similar agenda lies behind Sonys seemingly playful Aibo, the robot dog whose name comes from a Japanese word for "companion."

With its learning abilities, its plug-and-play personality swapping via Memory Stick removable media, its built-in camera and its wireless capabilities, the Aibo product line is a vehicle for Sony to test ideas for future mobile systems that interact naturally with users. For example, such systems might respond to complex voice commands such as "Send an e-mail to my staff rescheduling our meeting for 4 p.m. today" or "Take a picture of this and send it to the art department for the advertising layout."