Buddhist temple honors over 100 Sony Aibo robot dogs with funeral

 

Over 100 dogs just shared a funeral in Japan. The catch? They were all robots.

A group of Sony's out-of-production, old-generation Aibo robot dogs were honored with a traditional funeral service in Chiba Prefecture, reports The Japan Times.

SEE ALSO: These 5 helpful robots want to be your new best friend

The 114 dogs were formally lined up April 26 within Isumi's historic Kofukuji Buddhist temple, and each was given a tag describing their family owners and place of origin, according to the publisher. 

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TOPSHOT - Kofukuji temple chief priest Bungen Oi holds a Sony's pet robot AIBO after a robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A man organises Sony's pet robot AIBOs on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Kofukuji temple chief priest Bungen Oi offers a prayer for Sony's pet robot AIBOs displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Kofukuji temple chief priest Bungen Oi offers a prayer for Sony's pet robot AIBOs displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman wraps a Sony's pet robot AIBOs after a robots' funeral at the Kofuku-ji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Kofukuji temple chief priest Bungen Oi offers a prayer for Sony's pet robot AIBOs displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl wraps a Sony's pet robot AIBO after a robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
An audience offers prayers for Sony's pet robot AIBOs displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Last version of Sony's pet robot AIBO moves in front old version displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Sony's pet robot AIBOs are line up on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. - More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their 'funeral'. (Photo by Nicolas Datiche / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS DATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A purchaser of Sony Corp.'s robotic dog 'aibo' holds an older version of the robot during its sales launch event in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The mechanical mutt, which went on sale in Japan today, is just the beginning of the company's return to robotics, Chief Executive Officer�Kazuo Hirai�told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The dogs are all different Aibo releases, including Sony's first generation dogs launched in May 1999, and described as "the first robot designed for home entertainment purposes ... equipped with adaptive learning and growth capabilities that allow each unit to develop a unique personality."

More than 150,000 dogs of different iterations were sold over the years, before Sony discontinued Aibo in 2006

The funerals are reportedly a practice instated by vintage electronics repair company A-Fun Co., who encourage people to send their broken old generation robot dogs in for a service, before they're dismantled for parts like range finders and touch sensors. Sony even refers people to this company to get their older robodogs updated.

“We’d like to return the souls to the owners and make the robot a machine to utilize their parts,” Nobuyuki Norimatsu, head of A-Fun, told the Times. “We don’t take parts before we hold a funeral for them.”

With Sony canning Aibo in 2006, and closing its last Aibo repair clinic in 2014, owners were at a loss as to how to maintain their four-legged robofriends. Many held personal funerals in 2015.

Owners of older Sony Aibo robot dogs asked the tech giant in March 2018 to review their repair policy, which says that discontinued products won't be maintained seven years after they're canned. 

Sony's Aibo robot dogs aren't completely dead. The company surprised everyone in 2017 when it announced the return of Aibo, unveiling an AI-fuelled demo in January 2018 — with a whopping $2,000 price tag. 

Importantly, you can't sub in the parts from the new Aibo dogs with the older models — so resurrections are becoming harder and harder.

 

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