<p>&#34;The first decade of the 21st century will be dominated by robots&#34; - Toshitada Doi, Corporate Executive Vice President, Sony.</p><p>The term &#34;pet owner&#34; took on a completely new meaning at Toy Fair, with the virtual stampede of robotic dogs and cats in the marketplace. The &#34;Robotic Virtual Pets&#34; sub-category of the toy market jumped from $5 million to $159 million in one year.</p><h3>Up Close and Personal with Aibo</h3>My choice for the best virtual pet at Toy Fair 2001 had to be Sony&#39;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.<h3>Good Boy! Aibo</h3>&#34;Good Boy!&#34; 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 &#34;take a picture.&#34; AIBO has a built in camera. That is something your real life pet cannot do.<h3>Update - Aibo Put To Sleep</h3>At a whooping two thousand dollars, Aibo was not cheap as a dog or toy robot. Sony ended the Aibo line in 2006. However, Aibo was a flagship for Sony technologies with historical early use of: memory sticks, a proprietary embedded operating system, and advanced robotics technology.