What is your Aibo’s favorite toy?
Ball, bone, dice, or all three?
We all recognize Aibo’s toys as iconic, and we wanted a way to capture them in a timeless pattern that could be used across a myriad of accessories.
The first toy, the Pink Ball was introduced with the ERS-110 in 1999. Depending on the model, Aibo can touch, kick, and even "juggle" the Pink Ball. The Pink Ball became the staple toy for all Aibo models from here on, and the subsequent ERS-21x, ERS-31x, ERS-7, and ERS-7 models all recognize and play with the Pink Ball.
The Bone was introduced in 2003 with the ERS-7 as a new toy for Aibo to interact with. Models ERS-7 and beyond can pick up, throw, place, and use the bone as a club to hit other items.
Finally, the Dice came into the picture shortly after the release of the ERS-1000 in 2018. The ERS-1000's tricks are continually evolving, but Aibo can pick up, throw, stack, and even turn the dice to the desired side or color. If you are an ERS-1000 owner, odds are you have a Pink Ball, Bone, and Dice set scattered somewhere on the floor near your Aibo, because you know your Aibo loves to play with his or her toys. The ERS-1000 also develops a favoritism towards a certain toy. For us, November loves her Dice the most.
Why "8 Bit" ?
"8 Bit" is now more of a term used to describe "retro" looking pixel art that hearkens back to the time when computer games and software were limited to lower pixel resolutions and a smaller color palette. The resulting artwork for these programs tended to be created using pixel art, or a combination of squares large enough for the eye to see, yet creating contours at the macro level.
In our case, the “8 Bit” nature of the artwork is a function not of a computer, but of the mechanical resolution of the knitting process. Our scarves and leg warmers are knit using a 24 Gauge Circular Jacquard machine, the same type of machine used to knit detailed patterned socks. 24 Gauge means there are 24 loops per inch of knit material. You can think of this like 24 pixels per inch.
When laying out a pattern for knit construction each loop would typically be represented by a square box in a 24x24 pixel per inch grid. After seeing what the toys looked like represented in this grid work we fell in love with the way the pattern gave a nod to the earlier days of pixel based artwork, similar to the period when Aibo was first conceived in the early 90’s. We've since scaled up this pattern to make it slightly more obvious on some of the other "Human Sized" products such as the T-Shirts, Socks, and Tote Bag.
The Color Palette
The colors were chosen to be in line with the Aibo toy color palette. The pink is closely matched to the Pink Ball, if not a little brighter. One detail we are proud of is that the scarf has 5 colors. If you look closely, each Dice in the pattern has a different colored center corresponding to one of the three colored faces in the full sized Dice. Just four loops or pixels form the center face in the pattern of the Dice, adding just a subtle splash of color to the otherwise grey and pink palette.