Bereaved Aibo Owners Holding Dead Robot Dog Funerals

By Gary Cutlack on at

Sony's 1990s robot dog experiment ended several years ago, when it discontinued the device and stopped selling it back in 2006. Now the plastic dogs are getting on a bit they're gradually falling to pieces, leaving some owners to bury the poor things.

The Aibo series had a good run, though. Sony continued repairing the dogs until 2014, so many of the £1k+ pets are still going today. The ones that are failing now, though, have no robot vet technicians to put them back together again, leading some Japanese owners to have very real funerals for their pretend pets.

Repair company A-Fun attempted unofficial fixes on decaying dogs, but, after failing to mend a batch of 19 of them, decided it was best to put them out of their misery entirely and bury them in a ceremony at the Kofuku-ji temple.

An owner of a decaying Aibo asked Sony what the options were, saying: "I emailed a former Sony worker (on behalf of the dog), saying: 'Do I have no choice but to die like this because I can’t walk?'," with Sony referring her to A-Fun for a fix.

A-Fun says it currently has a waiting list of 180 sick Aibos, all waiting for the gift of life via organ transplants from broken models that are beyond saving. [WSJ via Independent]