The term "pet owner" took on a completely new meaning at Toy Fair, with the virtual stampede of robotic dogs and cats in the marketplace. The "Robotic Virtual Pets" sub-category of the toy market jumped from $5 million to $159 million in one year.
Up Close and Personal with AiboMy choice for the best virtual pet at Toy Fair 2001 had to be Sony's AIBO ERS-210. Sony claimed that AIBO could mimic free will and emotion. I spent an hour playing with an AIBO at the Toy Fair and I guarantee you that it is impossible not to treat AIBO as if it were an intelligent life form.
Good Boy! Aibo"Good Boy!" AIBO could learn whatever name you give your AIBO. With built-in voice recognition, AIBO could learn up to fifty words (later Aibo models could do one thousand words) and talk back to you in a special AIBO tonal language. You command your pet to follow orders including "take a picture." AIBO has a built in camera. That is something your real life pet cannot do.