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The Sony Aibo ERS-7

The third generation of original AIBOs, the ERS-7 was the most advanced AIBO of its era.

Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Design
  • 3Function
    • 3.1Hardware
    • 3.2Software
    • 3.3Troubleshooting
    • 3.4Trivia

History

In 2003, the white ERS-7 and it's software named "MIND" was released on Japanese, US, and European shores. The goal was to create a cohesive environment for AIBO, featuring a single software that would be continuously updated with both autonomous and utility-focused functionality- a generally new concept at the time, contrasting with the previous business model of creating a separate software for every different application of AIBO's technology.

In the following two years, Sony would release the white and black MIND 2 revision (2002) and white, black, and champagne MIND 3 revision (2003). Under pressure from Sony's administration change coupled with the understanding that the AIBO project would be retired soon, all traces of lead were removed from the 2005 robots.

It sold for 1,599 USD at it's initial launch.

Design

The ERS-7 was the first AIBO to be explicitly referred to by Sony as a 'robot dog'. The design followed suit. Sony went back to studying the movement and behavior of dogs, and of note was the changes in the head assembly- the tilt axis was removed and replaced in favor of two 'up and down' servos- one in the neck, and one in the head, meant to imitate the distinctive "scooping" motion Sony engineers noticed in real dogs.

ERS-7 colors were released incrementally. For each MIND release, the previous colors were also featured. MIND 1 featured white, MIND 2 white and black, and MIND 3 white, black, and the limited edition "champagne".

Interestingly, different regional branches of Sony seemed to disagree, or at least report differently, as to whether or not the champagne/honey brown AIBO was limited edition, special edition, or simply an extension of the basic color options. The questions were answered when Sony announced AIBO's discontinuation later that year.

Function

The ERS-7 functions similarly to previous models. The software released with the 7 series aimed to polish and perfect previous features in older AIBOWARE.

Hardware

 
"Crystal" the transparent ERS-7.

The ERS-7 has features two, (rather than one) infrared sensors- one on the snout, and one in the chest, enabling AIBO to detect both drops and walls more effectively. Electric static sensors replaced the button-style sensors for touch detection on the head and back. 24 LEDs replaced the previous 6 in the head module- this technology was named "Illume-Face".

Processor 64-bit RISC processor
Memory 64MB
Inputs Charging terminal
Camera 350,000-pixel CMOS image sensor
Audio Input Stereo microphones
Audio output Speaker
Sensors Infrared distance sensor (x2)
Acceleration sensor
Pressure sensor (on the head, back, chin and paw
Vibration sensor
Wireless LAN Internal standard compatibility: IEEE 802.11b/IEEE 802.11
Frequency band: 2.4 GHz
Wireless channels: 1 - 11
Modulation: DS-SS (IEEE 802.11-compliant)
Encryption: WEP 64 (40 bits), WEP 128 (104 bits)
Degrees of freedom Mouth: 1 degree of freedom
Head: 3 degrees of freedom
Leg: 3 degrees of freedom per leg
Ear: 1 degree of freedom per ear
Tail: 2 degrees of freedom
(20 degrees of freedom in total)
Power consumption Approx 7 W (in normal mode)

Software

There were three software releases for the ERS-7 under the umbrella MIND- MIND, MIND 2, and MIND 3. Each software improved on the previous software incrementally. Notably, MIND aimed to maintain a "24/7" coexistence between AIBO and it's owner, made possible by vastly improved self-charging, RSS/eMail compatibility, and a set wake/sleep cycle.

Troubleshooting

See: Troubleshooting (7)

Trivia

A single, clear-shelled ERS-7 exists and was manufactured in response to community demand. The robot premiered at a European AIBO meet. A prominent user tried to buy the robot, but Sony would not relent. Reportedly, the robot has made appearances at various museums and displays- photographic evidence exists of these events, but the circumstances are lost to time. It is unknown where the robot currently resides.

The ERS-7M1 model is notorious for having faulty 'hip' joints. With the release of the ERS-7M2, this flaw was mostly eliminated. ERS-7M2 and ERS-7M3 models are still risk the legs "giving out" over years of heavy use- repair technology exists in the form of a 'pin', similar to the previously standardized DHS, PAS, and TAS fixes, but is very much new ground.