You might think the late Sony Aibo was the first robotic dog, but it was late to the party according to this model from way back in 1960.

Yes, this model, detailed in a book entitled Practical Robot Circuits could move, see and hear.

In a series of photos (some in X-ray format) and accompanying text, the book describes each of the different "senses" of the dog and their constituent components. The robodog had eyes (photocells), ears (microphones), nostrils (NTC resistors) a bark (loudspeaker) and a navigational system (radar). The dog also had a life-like tongue, although this didn't contain taste sensors. A system of levers and motors moved the legs and neck, and a central battery supplied the robot's power.

It was all pretty primitive, of course, but still pretty cool, forward-thinking stuff. But still, real dogs reign supreme, for now, until someone can improve upon them. [Philips via]