A system that can wirelessly program Sony’s Aibo robot dog’s movements was unveiled by three Japanese companies at Business Show 2002, held this week in Tokyo. The Watson system can pre-program the movements of several Aibo robots, and then wirelessly set them in motion. It was developed by I Planning, Graphic Research, and Navigation Networks, who worked with Sony on the development of Aibo. The robots’ movements are plotted on a PC. Data can then be sent via a wireless LAN to up to 10 Aibo robots at a time. For example, the system can command the Aibos to start dancing at a set time and to stop three minutes later, then to start waving half an hour after that. “We could build this system because every Aibo has its own IP (Internet Protocol) address,” Ryo Ishizone, I Planning’s CEO, said. “You can program the Aibo’s movements for as long as its battery lasts.” The three companies are hoping that the system will be used for entertaining visitors at company or hospital reception desks, and to attract attention at events, Ishizone said. The Aibo ERS-210 and 220, which are equipped with a wireless LAN card slot, can be programmed using the system, and the companies are planning to develop a Bluetooth-enabled version for the Bluetooth-enabled Aibo ERS-311B and 312B, Ishizone said. The system costs around £1,650, excluding the robots, Ishizone said. In related news, Honda Motor has been renting-out its Asimo humanoid robots at ¥20 million a year. The Asimo is currently working as a museum guide and a company receptionist.