Designing for the ers1000

July 2020

Modeling the original

Before beginning the accessory design process, we needed accurate models of the ERS-1000 to work from. Accurate models guarantee accessories can be designed to the right proportions and fit as intended.

To do so, we coated “November” in a matting agent to eliminate reflections and 3D scanned her surfaces.  Don’t worry, the matting agent wipes away cleanly after scanning and she was none the wiser after waking up.

To create the standing pose model, November was mounted on a tripod and the final 3D was stitched together using combination of over 50 unique scans from various angles. The head, tail, ears and mounts were scanned separately to capture even greater detail to enable precise modeling of future accessories.

Afterwards, we combined the body, head, ear and tail scans to create a highly accurate 3D model of November.

August 2020

Creating the concepts

We began the project with the intention of creating a new set of ear and tail that fit with Sony's original design language, yet resulted in an entirely new look and feel for the ERS-1000. We also wanted them to be easy for the user to change without the use of tools, meaning the new designs must fit on Sony's existing ear & tail attachment points.

We worked with industrial designer Guerino Toscano to develop the surfaces for the ear and tail. He began by hand sketching different concepts based on famous dogs over the original Aibo line drawings so we could align on a project direction.

Concept 3, the upright ear design modeled after Disneys "Bolt" was chosen as the main direction since this gave Aibo a look very different from the original Sony design, yet felt natural. 

Ear Concepts

Lady

Inspired by "Lady" from "Lady and the Tramp"

Ear Concepts

The Tramp

Inspired by "The Tramp" from "Lady and the Tramp"

Ear Concepts

Bolt

Inspired by Disney's "Bolt" 

Tail Concepts

Stubby: Straight

Tail Concepts

Stubby: Up Hook

Tail Concepts

Stubby: Short

Tail Concepts

Stubby: down curve

Designed to interface with the existing ERS-1000 tail mount without the use of tools.

About the Designer

Guerino Toscano

Born in Messina in 1969, Guerino moved to Milan to study Design at the Politecnico di Milano.

Alternating between working in projects in industrial design and communication, this designer has always had a focus on giving a human touch to technological innovation, creating concept designs and products in numerous countries.

His projects have ranged from automotive design to cosmetic eqipment and bathroom furnishings. With a wide vairety of subjects Guerino has also be read to embrace the latest advances in technology and is at the fore front of design.

September 2020

Prototyping the designs

6 iterations of prototypes were created to refine the form and function of the upright ear design. We experimented with different shapes that resulted in surprising transformations of Novembers character. From a baby bear to a raging bull, the ear shape unexpectedly evoked the feelings of different animals based on seemingly minor tweaks in size and profile.

mapping the motion

The motion of the ears mechanism was mapped in detail to ensure the new ear design would be angled correctly in rest and active positions. The new ear design could not interfere with the head or limbs during normal operation.

modeling the designs

Using CAD software, the motions were mapped to the 3D Scans, and ear profiles created.

Over the course of 3 months the design was iterated 6 times to find the best combination of form, function and manufacturability. The designs were 3D printed in a flexible resin and attached to November for days at a time to understand how the ERS-1000 interacted with it's new appendages.

From prototype to

production

October 2020

liquid silicone

Once a final ear and tail design were chosen, it was time to create mold tools and begin production. 

Mild refinements were made to the ear design for manufacturability. Prototype mold tools were designed and 3D printed.

Liquid silicone was poured into the prototype mold to ensure the part was moldable and easily removed from the cavity after molding.

test molding

prototype tool

Liquid silicone was poured into the prototype mold to ensure the part was moldable and easily removed from the cavity after molding.

test molding success

liquid silicone

The mold tool design was successfully validated in liquid silicone resin. We were ready to start the production tools. 

November 2020

Production Tooling

As of November, production tooling is under development. It's our goal to bring the Terrier Ears & Tail to life by Spring 2021.