Aibo are one of several types of robotic dogs designed and manufactured by Sony ; there have been several different kinds of Aibo since their introduction in 1999. Able to walk, "see", and recognize spoken commands, they are considered to be autonomous robots, since they are able to learn and mature based on external stimuli from their owner or environment, or from other Aibo.
Many Aibo owners enjoy teaching their pets new behaviors by reprogramming them (in Sony's special 'R-Code' language). However, in October of 2001, Sony sent a cease-and-desist notice to the webmaster of Aibopet.com, demanding that he stop distributing code to modify the functioning of the Aibo. Eventually, in the face of many outraged Aibo owners, Sony reconsidered and released a programmer's kit for 'non-commercial' use.
The Aibo's sounds were programmed by Japanese DJ/avant-garde composer Nobukazu Takemura, considered by many to be highly skilled at fusing mechanic and organic concepts, and the bodies of the "3x" series (Latte and Macaron, the round-headed Aibo released in 2001) were designed by visual artist Katsura Moshino.