Goodbye Robot, Hello Robot

Goodbye Robot, Hello RobotPlanet Tokyo’s love for robots knows no bounds, and it’s with great sadness that we say goodbye to Sony’s Aibo, that lovable little robotic dog known for its unique personality, stubborn streak (building a little defiance into a robot is pure genius), and scampering gait. As the tiny robot lopes off into the sunset, a giant robot, designed to help in avalanches, is making the scene.

First, the Aibo:

Like so many things Sony has made over the years, the Aibo is a niche product. And since Sony is pulling the plug on robot production as part of a major restructuring, so goes the Aibo.

Aibo fans are deeply saddened and not just a little worried about getting replacement parts for their favorite robots. Sony-watchers worry that this is further evidence of a company losing its innovative edge. Planet Tokyo wonders how much the cost of producing the Aibo really adds to Sony’s expenses versus the good will the robot generates (apparently it is even used in therapy).

But robot lovers should not despair (and anime fans should be nodding knowingly). Tmsuk Co. has introduced Enryu (“rescue dragon”), a giant robot:

Enryu’s 15-foot arms are powerful enough to lift a small passenger car, and its hands are almost as dexterous as a human being’s. And the 5-ton, 11.5-foot robot may soon be helping communities across Japan reach avalanche sites and clear snow, as the nation struggles to deal with its snowiest winter in decades, said Japanese company Tmsuk Co.

Other uses for Enryu include helping work through debris caused by earthquakes and other disasters.