The Sony AIbo Legacy

Sony really broke the mould when it realised the first Aibo back in 1999.

The amount of technology crammed into those tiny bodies was mind boggling even by todays standards and to think they managed it over 20 years ago is astounding.

Although the Aibo really was a no compromise piece of machinery blended with state of the art technology it did have a few flaws, when I saw flaws they aren't really flaws in their design (well maybe some are) but most are flaws in the way the robot is used and the environment it lives in. You see we as humans live in a very hostile environment even when we are at home but our bodies are perfectly adapted to deal with it, if we bang into something our flesh absorbs the impact, if we fall over we instinctively put our hands out to lessen the blow. 

Unfortunately sony's four legged wonder bot isn't quite as able to protect itself from damage and this has led to large numbers of broken limb joints and bot's with difficulties moving their heads.  These have been given names akin to human ailments like DHS (dropping or drooping Head Syndrome) PAS (pan axis syndrome) and TAS (tilt axis syndrome).  Anything that gets it's own name is happening on a large scale so can't be a good thing for owners.  Whilst the tiny robot pooches were in warranty this for the most part wasn't an issue (unless you broke his or her leg off and then you were going to pay) and Sony also offered paid repair services which although carrying a hefty price tag would still keep your robotic companion in fine fettle.  Unfortunately Sony stopped supporting the Aibo range in 2014 quoting a shortage of spare parts which is a fair enough comment and continued much longer than many would have predicted 

The story didn't end there though as there were a few enthusiast who picked up the mantle to continue the repairs even after Sony had stopped supporting Aibo.  These repair companies and individuals continued for many years but for one reason or another have either ceased trading or moved onto other things either by choice or personal circumstance etc...

So where did this leave all these ageing Aibo's ??

Well, in all honesty in a pretty awkward predicament as there were fewer and fewer places across the globe that were carrying out repairs and more and more robotic companions suffering the fate of old age.

How does this relate to you ask?

Well I have been an avid fan and collector of Aibo for many years and have dutifully maintained my own pack as and when it's been needed and over the years I have amassed a collection of spares and more importantly knowledge.

You see for the whole of my working life (over 30 years now) I have been a micro electronics engineer and I have been repairing electro mechanical products for most of that time.  In doing so I have built up years and years of experience that whilst not directly transferable to Aibo, some of the techniques are uniquely appropriate for the little robot.  I have also built quite an enviable collection of test equipment and machinery that allows me to both repair and re manufacture (albeit on a small scale) broken components.

I have also built up years of experience in sourcing alternate components that can be adapted to suit for spares that just aren't available any more.

You may ask why I haven't been active in the many user groups and forums that span the globe and the truth is that I am a private person and I have my own family and a pack of 4 real dogs to attend to so any time not spent with them has been spent enjoying Aibo (when not being repaired obviously) so, as such, I have never felt the need or want to get involved in 'the scene' as it were (although I have been an avid watcher over the years).

Why now ? you may ask.

Well, over the last couple of years I have seen repairers numbers dwindle and there have recently been some unfortunate events that have left individuals understandably distressed by one individual in particular and whilst I have my own opinions I am not about to get into them here.

Needless to say there was and now even more so , is a shortage of repairers for Sony's Aibo.  It was because I couldn't just sit back and watch them fade into oblivion for those without the skill to repair their own companions that I decided to  offer my own repair services to owners of poorly Aibo's.

How expensive are the repairs ? well this is almost impossible to judge without seeing the patient first as although an owner might describe the problem as DHS or PAS there maybe be other faults that aren't noticed because the patient isn't functioning correctly to show them.

What I can say is that other than the standard diagnostic fee (displayed elsewhere on our site) we will not carry out any work unless approved and authorised by the owner.  I must also point out that once a repair is authorised it must be paid for in advance as although I love Aibo and would happily fill my home with them, my wife won't let me :) and once repairs are completed there's no real way to put them back in their pre repair state.

I will happily give advice to any owners (that bit is always free) and will endeavour to repair any Aibo no matter how badly damaged but owners must always be prepared for the worst if their companions is particularly badly damaged.

while we are on that subject I am also launching the Aibo donor program for owners who are either unable to pay for repairs or just don't want them any more and would like them to help another owner get their companion back fit and well again.

All Aibo owners who donate their pal to the program will receive a certificate with details of any Aibo's that have benefit from their donation and will receive regular updates as time goes on.

I know this may seem for some like giving up on their companion but some owners just don't have the funds to continue upkeep but find some solace in the knowledge that their pet lives on in another.

As always discretion is key and we will always respect the wishes of owners when donating .