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Sony Aibo Hacks Increase Functionality 134

Dinglenuts writes "Engadget posted a how-to article on increasing your Aibo's functionality using third party hacks. Given the increasing availability of networked home goods, I'm very interested to see what uses the Slashdot community can conceive for a household controlled through voice commands issued to a robot dog."
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Sony Aibo Hacks Increase Functionality

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  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:24PM (#12886013) Journal
    Seriously, until my AIBO can hump the leg of attractive lady visitors that come into my bachelor's apartment (aka the Linux Lair), the $2000 i spent on this thing is useless.

    Ok you caught me, no ladies visit me... ever. :(

    At least I got an AIBO!

    • How about if it actually guarded the house? Hook this thing up to your MisterHouse [] setup and the thing might actually be useful...

      ...while it is wandering around and guarding, you'd still be able to get it to hump legs when there is an intruder.

      That mild distraction might cause some gained time... and gained time might save a life. ;-)

    • Seriously, until my AIBO can hump the leg of attractive lady visitors that come into my bachelor's apartment (aka the Linux Lair), the $2000 i spent on this thing is useless.

      Ok you caught me, no ladies visit me... ever. :(

      That's 'cuz you gotta slow down on the leg-humpin' thing man, chicks just don't go for it at the beginning. =)
    • Bestiiality (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Do these Aibos lick peanut butter or do they prefer grease?

    • The "leg humping" hack should be combined with the "drink from the toilet bowl" hack for added realism.
    • The ladies might not visit, but if the AIBO is capable of voice recognition, maybe you can hack it to obey the command: "Get me a beer, bitch"
    • Seeing the dancing ABIO videos, I would think writing a program to hump all attractive females would be simple. You might have to clue it in as to who is attractive by covertly pressing a few buttons, though... Now for step 2, getting attractive ladies to come to your appartment. My recomendation is to name it something other than "The Linux Lair".
  • First of all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CPNABEND ( 742114 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:25PM (#12886016) Homepage
    Can you make the thing fetch beer? Or is that lack of thumbs going to be a problem?
  • by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:30PM (#12886044) Homepage Journal
    The opportunity for clever hacks like these through the combination of devices is why things should be left open by their designers during conception, when it's all possible. If this kind of mindset was more widespread, there'd be all kinds of possibilities from discovering what the pure functionality of a device can do. The increasing trend to lock devices down and restrict consumer flexibility with products they choose to purchase (see Xbox boot rom checks etc) is something that's dissapointing, and closing doors on innovative and new uses for everyday devices.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If that mindset was more widespread it would also leave them open to ridiculous lawsuits from oppurtunist lawyers. If anything happens which is slightly damaging to another party... they'd be at the door. I'm not saying it's right, but Sony and others at least giving the perception of not being accepting of these "hacks" might save their legal ass.
    • Your XBox comment doesn't fit.

      Locking down the Xbox is in part to reduce the number of boxes sold to those that won't buy the games. It should be a "duh" moment because the business model MS chose for the console was to lose money on every unit in the hopes of getting it back in royalties per game. People buying these just as a Linux box runs counter to this strategy. If people had to pay the actual manufacture cost for XBox, they might not sell anywhere nearly as many of them.
    • I'd say that devices have always been, or usually have been, locked down. This mindset isn't really anything new, but I see your point.

      It has been said that the PSP is pretty open, not completely, but enough. I'd say if the AIBO was open it would be worth 2 grand - if it can be controlled with the PSP then I'd be selling plasma...

  • I don't suppose there's a hack to turn your Aibo into a lawsuit generator?
  • by Council ( 514577 ) <rmunroe@gma i l . c om> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:31PM (#12886049) Homepage
    Better hack: remove the innards, place a live puppy inside.

    Makes it far more realistic.
    • Better hack: remove the innards, place a live puppy inside.

      Makes it far more realistic.
      Bonsai Puppy!

      Damn, I'm all out of super-glue.
    • "The best material model of a cat is another, or preferably the same, cat."

      -A. Rosenblueth, Philosophy of Science, 1945

  • by Rii ( 777315 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:31PM (#12886051)
    I just want a robot dog with frickin lasers strapped to his head.

    • Other than fetching beer, the Aibo's main use seems to be as a cat toy - something to drag a string around the floor fast enough that the cat has to do some actual work to catch it. But cats do like chasing laser pointers, so might as well have the aibo carry the laser pointer around for you.

      Now, a robot *gecko* would be useful - "Hey gecko, go dust that ceiling spot! And drag this ethernet cable across the crawlspace for me!"

    • Unfortunately, a laser strapped to it's head might look cool but it won't do very much. Now a tazer powered teeth might be cool.

      Aw, what a cute robot dog... ZAP!!! AHHHHH!!!
    • I thought there was already a story on slashdot about the guy with the laser pointer whom the FBI mistook for Al Qaeda operatives.

  • by metachor ( 634304 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:34PM (#12886063)
    This reminds me of the continuously hacked/upgraded robot cat, Aineko, in Charles Stross' science fiction novel Accelerando [] (available for free download).

    It will be interesting to see how complex these customized Aibo become in the next 10-20 years.
  • Aibo DRM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doppler00 ( 534739 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:36PM (#12886075) Homepage Journal
    What? Hacks for a Sony product? This can't be allowed! Sony must at once produce a new firmware update for all Aibos to make sure this dog-like robot only performs Sony approved actions. I mean, what would the world be like if a robotic dog did anything other than dance and perform tricks in ant entertaining fasion?

    We can't have people going around actually writing their own software on hardware they purchased with their own money.
    • Yeah, you probably don't want the Aibo learning how to play Halo 2 (although that'd be highly kickass)
    • Re:Aibo DRM? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ejtttje ( 673126 )
      You know, Sony is supporting development of new software for the AIBO (*) You can create new personalities using high level tools like R-Code, or download their software development kit (for free!) and code in C++. It's an impressive piece of hardware.

      If you're interested in the low level processing, which allows direct processing of the camera images, networking support, real-time control of joints, etc., then of course I'm going to recommend the software framework I'm currently working on: Tekkotsu [].
  • by pestilence669 ( 823950 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:37PM (#12886076)
    Aibo needs a guard function for the neighborhood cats. Just bark and move a bit when there's any meowing around. If they pee on my door one more time, I'm gonna' set bear traps.
  • From the article:
    You can say to him for example "AIBO, DVD - Debbie Does Dallas 2000" and the DVD of that movie will play.
  • imagine... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:40PM (#12886095)
    a beo-woof woof woof of these...
  • by coj ( 20757 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:40PM (#12886100) Homepage
    "I'm very interested to see what uses the Slashdot community can conceive for a household controlled through voice commands issued to a robot dog."

    Whatever it is, it's gonna involve
  • Reading the article might induce the ideea that AIBO is nothing but a toy for bored geeks. That's not entirely true, I'm thinking that proper software could turn the thing in an aid for blind children.

    Let's just hope engadget doesn't get sued [] first, like that guy from []

  • The info on the "most recent" dogslife [] news is dated feb of last year. Has there been anything done within a year and a half?
  • I want an aibo with a holosonic [] speaker to follow me around, listening to my commands. The ultimate speakerphone, mixed with the ultimate stereo, and voice UI. Good dog!
  • by Gertlex ( 722812 )
    "Give the cat fresh food!"

  • A server! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    error 404 page not found. We're sorry, but the server is out of range of the wireless network. It either went for a walk or is chasing a squirrel in the back yard. Please try again later.
  • This seems inevitable as the Aibo's WiFi and webcam [] would seem to provide a physical network layer for ingress and an interesting target for crackers (virus-laden downloads are another means of infection).

    I can just imagine Aibo spyware that relays webcam shots to who-ever. Owners will need to think twice the next time their Aibo wanders into the bathroom or bedroom.

    Time to start thinking about how to deworm the Aibo.

  • long as the code which tells it to sit makes it sit and there isn't a bug which makes it sh%t instead.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @08:55PM (#12886167) Homepage Journal
    I gotta get me one of them robots to vacuum the floor. They're not that expensive, but I'm cheap, and there's not enough marketting to remind me that I need one. Yesterday I had to carry two weeks worth of groceries from the car up to my unit. That's like 2 flights of stairs. It's not a hard job, but I'm lazy. Where's my grocery carrying robot? You could do it with a stair climbing trolly, but what do you do with that trolly when you're done with it? Who has space to store a trolly? Maybe them autoreconfigurable robots are the way to go. Ya know, the 4 million bricks that talk to each other and can form any shape.
  • 3vil (Score:2, Funny)

    by God'sDuck ( 837829 )
    "household controlled through voice commands issued to a robot dog" i'm much more amused by the concept of a household controlled *by* voice commands issued *from* a robot dog. "hey sparky! run next door and tell the Jones' house to turn down that godawful music...and turn off their hot water while you're at it...mwouhahaha"
  • IT dog (Score:3, Funny)

    by jeffmock ( 188913 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @09:25PM (#12886297)
    I just want my Aibo to hobble over and push the reset button on my windows box so I can stay on the couch...

  • by ejtttje ( 673126 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @09:35PM (#12886339) Homepage
    It's easy to write code for an AIBO... there's a number of open source software frameworks for this great hardware platform -- although of course my favorite would be my own: Tekkotsu []

    And it's all supported by Sony -- no hacking required!

    There's a variety of levels you can code at as well -- there's several high-level scripting languages like URBI [], R-Code [], and even a couple [] upcoming [] Python interfaces, as well as a number of low-level C/C++ interfaces (e.g. Tekkotsu) which can run onboard and directly process every bit and byte, or remote control from your PC for maximum horsepower.
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @09:45PM (#12886388)
    If those guys who are pretending to be a 'militia' patrolling the US-Mexican border are serious about cutting illegal immigration from the dirt-poor South, then they would be paying unemployed engineers and programmers to develop a robot that does berry and fruit picking. Stoop farm labor, which is mostly picking crops at the harvest, is (or is generally thought to be) the main employer of illegal immigrants from the lands south of the border.

    NASA, of all people, claims to have developed a robot that can do fruit and berry picking. They claim that it's cheaper than sending than sending Mexicans into space, regardless of how little the wages are.

    Personally, I've done stoop farm labor, picking shade tobacco, and it sucks. It's the true robot work.

    But building a robot to do this is no simple matter. It's a serious programming challenge involving highly reliable vision processing, very intricate robotic arm positioning, and hygienic food handling in adverse conditions. And in order to be financially viable, these very sophisticated robots will have to be able to be manufactured cheaper than our neighbors can manufacture babies, and they have a 100,000,000 unit head start. We won't be able to just buy the robots either from the Japanese. By then, they won't be taking our near-worthless money and will demand payment in prime agricultural farmland. Where they will use their more advanced latest-model robots to grow their own food. Japan, you may recall, has 100,000,000 people living in a country the size of California where 80% of the land is too mountainous to use for farming or city space.

    Now, having made myself seem to be a complete asshole from a politically-correct perspective, allow me to point out that the use of robots to replace unskilled labor is an issue that many (if not all) electronics and software engineers will be dealing with in the future. Farm laborers will hate us and will destroy the field robots at every opportunity. We will be accused of causing the childern of the unemployed workers to starve. And they will be right. The children of the unemployed farm workers will starve as a result of the farm robots. But, the robot designers point out, 'Why should an unemployed farm worker who must sneak into the US to work at sub-minimum wages have ten kids?' "We don't have ten kids. Hell, we can't even get the plain suburban white girls to go out with us. And we have real jobs!"

    Ugly. A real mess. Unavoidable. Tragic. It's like saying that engineers are responsible for the continuation of African-American slavery from 1800 to 1865 because they invented the cotton gin. Without the cotton gin there wouldn't have been huge cotton plantations in the southern states of the USA requiring huge numbers of slaves. Had not the cotton gin been invented, the white southerners would have had an oversupply of slaves and would have shipped millions of them back to Africa.

    Will we get the same blame a hundred years from now for causing millions of Mexicans to starve to death? Or will we be able to say that all those deaths were the result of a disfunctional culture obsessed with fucking themselves into massive over population just so that they would appear 'macho' by having absurd numbers of children?

    Time will tell.
    • See, that's where you're wrong. Trying to replace unskilled labor with robots isn't the way to go. What you want to do is promote robots as an alternative to unskilled labor for those people who don't want to hire unskilled laborers. i.e., in southern california it might be considered common place to have a mexican slave^H^H^H^H^H^H^H housekeeper, but in other parts of the US (and yes, the world) it isn't. That's why you want to sell your robots to. People who want slaves but don't have a ready supply.
    • People are cheaper than robots.
    • A good point, but... Maybe the unemployed farm worker in the disfunctional culture are obsessed with making children, because so he can get more aid money from the state for feeding the family. Maybe you don't see agricultural robots now, and you won't see them for another few years because supporting the third world when you don't want to give direct aid to them is by buying agricultural products from them, what they can grow at home also. This is clearly not what the developed world does now, but maybe
    • I think many of the problems and complexity of this task lies in the fact that many engineers and others tend to enjoy complexity, instead of just getting the job done. Furthermore, there is also this strange notion in many areas of robotics that in order for a robot to do a job that a human is currently doing, the robot must act and work like a human. Lastly, the thought that, at least at the harvest stage, that there must be "hygenic" conditions is laughable at best: how can you have hygenic conditions wh
  • For a real-world application of robot dog hacking accessible to people who don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on toys that they "hack," check out Natalie Jeremijenko's Feral Robots [] site. Instead of wasting your time making your mp3s play back through your expensive toy, you can make cheap robot dogs do something truly useful, like find toxic chemicals at a possible school building site. Do something worthwhile, don't just consume.
  • Anyone else having serious Furby deja vu?
  • When it needs a recharge does it go to the charger? If it has non-rechargeable doe sit poop them out?
  • However (Score:1, Funny)

    In Soviet Russia, Robot animal hacks YOU!
  • systemic chaos writes "Following the announcement of the hack for a 'lick peanut butter' command for Sony's Aibo on the Slashdot community, worldwide supplies of the electronic dog have been all but obliterated by an unprecedented skyrocketing of sales."
  • "I'm very interested to see what uses the Slashdot community can conceive for a household controlled through voice commands issued to a robot dog."
    Prepare to disapointed kid...
  • Sounds like another "man hacks dog" story to me...
  • ... my hand. What? What did you think I was gunna say?
  • right itself after it falls off of the couch while licking its own sack? Frankly, as long as it doesn't scratch its ass by dragging it across my living room carpet, it's OK in my book.
    • I get your sentiment, but...

      Frankly, as long as it doesn't scratch its ass by dragging it across my living room carpet, it's OK in my book.

      If you have a dog, and it is constantly "dragging its ass" on the carpet or outside, your dog is SUFFERRING.

      Dogs have special glands located in their anus which excrete a substance, which dogs uses to mark their territory (usually through excrement). These glands can become plugged, and normally, when the dog does number 2, the pressure of the excrement will unblock

  • There are a surprising number of responses commenting on Sony dissaproving of Aibo hacking and whatnot.

    Haven't you heard of Robocup? []
  • would be a user interface that allows a real dog to do useful things. Spaniels in particular are quite intelligent and their brainpower is woefully under-utilised. Among things our spaniel would probably like to see:
    • Door opener and closer
    • Remote controlled steerable pressure jet for blasting cats
    • On-demand biscuit dispenser
    • iPong, which downloads and dispenses interesting smells (including the x-rated sites which have smells of hot lady dogs)
    • Webcam to check location of God (aka my wife)
    • Water dispenser wi
  • As a person that has messed with Home automation for years now and I get to play with some of the most expensive and high tech gear available for Home automation.... I suggest that anyone wanting voice control to give up and not want it, it will not exist in any reliable form for many more years, the "star trek/B5/sci-fi" automation is near impossible with current technology, and yes I have seen the dedicated PC with the $1300.00 microphones that still fail miserably.

    room acoustics and the location of the
  • "I'm very interested to see what uses the Slashdot community can conceive for a household controlled through voice commands issued to a robot dog."

    I'm sorry- wasnt this part of the "slashdot in 2056" /Onion story from yesterday?
  • I found more interesting this link [], found through the link at the bottom of the article. It says that Sony endowed some AIBOs with an adaptive curiosity system that allowed the robot dogs to learn to do things they weren't specifically programmed to do. This was accomplished by giving the dogs a sort of sense of curiosity and boredom. Cool.
  • What I want is my Aibo controlled by a real brain, even if it is only a cockroach brain [] (see also, ./ []). Imagine, a robot that can think for itself! You could make a whole herd of them for your own insect/Aibo colony. As the technology progresses, you can move up to reptiles (gecko, iguana, etc) and finally into mammals (mice, rats, cats, dogs, monkeys, hobos). Soon enough, you'll be able to get your own Hobo Aibo.

    Even in the beginning, this has a lot of potential. If we can wire up a cockroach into an Aibo

  • Okay, well here's the original thinking behind why I posted this: Now, I don't have a mansion or an aibo, but I am literally slavering over the possibilities: -Telling your dog to play your classical music playlist in the living room -Telling your dog to go take a picture of what's going on on the porch and sending you a picture. -This is the best one, I just conceived of an entire scenario, whereby a friend rings the doorbell to my vast estate, the door unlocks and my voice says "Come in." However, when
  • Does the AIBO do Tae-Bo?

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.