Sony creates Battersea Dog's Home-style adoption scheme for old Aibo dogs

A robot dog's not just for Christmas

Sony Aibo
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has launched a scheme to repair and rehome old Aibo robot dogs.

Available in Japan, the Aibo Foster Parent Program is designed to enable owners of ageing plastic pets to donate them for others to enjoy.

Any Aibo donated will be assessed and repaired, then offered to "foster parents" who will make great use of the device – such as medical facilities and care homes. There will be a fee involved, but Sony hasn't disclosed that at this time.

Not only does will this give Aibo a new lease of life, but it'll make the device more sustainable.

It's easy for Aibo owners to donate their pets, they just have to head to a dedicated Japanese website (via Engadget) and start the process. The same website is used for prospective foster parents to register their interest.

Don't tell kids this, but some of the donated Aibos might not make it through the assessment stage – if they are too damaged, say. But, if that's the case, they will be used to help mend other Aibo donations instead.

One cool extra touch is that Sony will award a successful donation a special "Aibo Foster Parent Program Collar" that matches the original Aibo concept's colour.

Those chosen to be an Aibo Foster Parent will be informed from December this year. Donations are being accepted now, though.

The first Sony Aibo was released in 1999 with the name standing for Artificial Intelligence RoBOt. It featured the body of a small dog but with no facial features.

Later models gained a more dog-like appearance and became smarter in the many different things they could do. The line was revived in 2018 with the ERS-1000 and it can learn through a connection to the cloud.

The same style is still sold in Japan today, in multiple different colours and special edition themes.

It's not clear whether Sony will accept the 90s Aibo as part of the donation program, but either way you can really respect the concept – especially as children's hospitals and those who may need a friend, robot or not, to keep them company.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.