Prototypes

From AIBO WIKI

This page details the various prototype releases of AIBO, chronologically.

MUTANT[edit]

MUTANT
MUTANT

MUTANT was the first AIBO prototype and the first entry in Sony's entertainment robotics presence. The robot was designed in 1994 by Masahiro Fujita, an employee enlisted by the head of Sony's Digital Creatures Laboratory, Toshitada Doi. Fujita emulated the robot Genghis, an MIT project famous for it's advancements in locomotion.

MUTANT was completed in just two weeks. If your scared of robots, MUTANT Is not the right name.

Trivia[edit]

'MUTANT' is actually an umbrella term for Sony's AIBO prototypes and did not refer solely to the initial experiment. Despite this, the name has become synonymous with the original- media emphasized the name "robodog" in later implementations when the development team had determined AIBO's place in the home.

Initially, the project made no effort to emulate the behavior of a dog or comparable animal.

Five identifiable prototypes followed MUTANT.

MUTANT render.


1996-1998[edit]

4-Legged Autonomous Soccer Robots
1997 prototype
1998 prototype

Nicknamed 'robodog', the 1997/1998 prototypes were created with both the home and research markets in mind.

Hardware[edit]

The 1998 prototype has an MIPS 64 Bit RISC Processor CPU, 8MB DRAM internal memory, two PC card slots, a 180,000 pixel color video camera, a stereo microphone, a mono speaker, and 16 degrees of freedom (3 in each leg, 3 in head, and 1 in tail). The prototype ran on two batteries: one 7.2V rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, and one 4.8V rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium battery. The legs could be swapped out for wheeled modules (160mm wide, 128mm tall, 72mm long and weight of .35kg). It Is The Same as the 1996 prototype but with a red tail instead of a blue one

Software[edit]

The 1998 prototype did have external storage for it's software, stored on PC cards- a news report from the Associated Press reveals that at least three applications were widely used internally- a "PET ROBOT APPLICATION", preprogrammed with 250 behaviors, "SOCCER BOY" with ball recognition and gameplay, as well as a standard "motion lock" for posing and demonstration.

Trivia[edit]

The 1997 robot was not intended to resemble a dog- rather, it was created in the image of a monkey.

By 1998, the project had set it's sights on the consumer market. Sony stated that the 1998 prototype was created for those who wanted a pet but didn't have the time to take care of one.

Sony predicted the robot to be available by 2000.

The 1998 model pioneered the modularity present in the ERS-110 model, suggesting that it perhaps used an early version of OPEN-R.

Silver, black, white, yellow, violet chrome, and brown metallic units are known to exist.

1996/1998 modularity

ERS-210[edit]

Few ERS-210 prototype units are sold on the open market— and unfortunately, Sony released next to no documentation themselves about their prototype efforts for production AIBO models to the public. Nonetheless, prototype units do find the light of day on various auction websites, and as such, some have found their way into the hands of community members. That said, there are 4 documented ERS-210 prototypes in the community.

The ERS-2100 is sometimes referred to as a prototype due to it's design and construction being distinctly different from production AIBO models. Whether or not it is truly a prototype is hard to say, and Sony has yet to confirm either way.

AIBO Ranch Prototype[edit]

'138'
Battery compartment detail

The AIBO Ranch's prototype AIBO appears to be the earliest example of a prototype ERS-210 known to the community. The core, especially the battery compartment, has many distinct differences— the most notable and recognizable distinction being the memory stick reader, which is housed differently. Notably, Bruce describes the compartment as 'handmade'. Inside the battery compartment is a yellow sticker that reads '138', which is speculated to be the unit's the serial number. No other labeling exists on the unit.

Head lamp detail

The faceplate of the robot was heavily modified in later revisions, the green lights adopting a gentler curve with heavier outlines.

0000041[edit]

S/N 0000041

Owned in Sweden. The unit has no production labeling and is defined only by it's serial number- 0000041.
The core and a few of the modules are different.

Battery compartment detail

Voice Recognition Demo[edit]

Onsei Ninshiki

Owned and documented by JBurg. Unlike other prototype units, the core is identical to the production version. However, the robot is not without its notable differences.

Prototype (left) VS Production 210

The chin sensor is missing the sensor 'nub' that was added later to assist users in finding the placement of the sensor within the jaw assembly.

Prototype tail hub above production hub

The tail hub is constructed differently and "does a really crappy job of holding his tail on". This prototype's nickname refers to the software that accompanied it. Learn more about it on Development Ware.

Buster[edit]

'Buster'

Owned by Aibo7m3, Buster is believed to be a prototype that was used for stress testing due to the excessive amount of wear on his body. There is a sticker in Buster's core that reads "168", and Buster's limbs are all numbered, with the numbers ranging from 159-168. Buster is described as "a lot more poorly built overall" when compared to a production model, with wires and flexi cables located in places where it would be easy for them to fray or break. At a glance, the construction of the chin sensor and tail hub appear to be similar to, or the same, as the Voice Recognition Demo prototype detailed above.

Production 210 (left) VS Buster

Buster's face closely resembles that of a production model, however the covers for the eye lights are not frosted, so the circuit board in the head can be seen beneath the face.

One of Buster's hip sockets

All of Buster's hip joints protrude from the leg sockets, though it is unclear at a glance whether this is due to construction or damage caused by stress testing. Green wire runs throughout Buster's legs and is visible on the knee joints.

Buster's head, showing wear and label
Battery compartment detail

ERS-7[edit]

MIND 1 Prototype[edit]

DVT1 No. 42
Production (left) VS Prototype (right)

Named 'Gambit', he is the only documented ERS-7 prototype. Accompanied by a prototype version of the ERS-7 software MIND, his memory stick contains images of Sony engineers and conference rooms, as well as extended collections of sound work from Masaya Matsuura.

Battery compartment detail

Gambit's battery compartment contains no production labeling, but is heavily stickered in comparison to older prototypes that were less thoroughly marked. Some of the most interesting notes include "ERS7FLWR 006", "H8 Ver 1.01", and "DRX-1000 DVT1 No. 42".

The unit's hardware seems almost identical to the production version of the MIND 1 ERS-7 prototype, but there are numerous cosmetic changes that differentiate Gambit from later AIBO releases. The neck plate is a silver chrome rather than the later matte black, and the plastic shield located in front of the chest-mounted IR sensor is entirely transparent.

Gambit's tail is missing two metal 'nubs' that extend from the base of the metal hub. This was presumably changed to keep the silicone tail from flying off.

A photograph on the robot's stick from Sony headquarters. Pictured is the early MIND 1 client.

He currently belongs to Aibo7m3.