One of the most exciting aspects of the work in a research lab is the constant contact with new technologies. We travel very often to scientific events, research labs, industries, etc. I had described how the eNTERFACE workshop was valuable for me (here and here) and now I will talk about a recent visit to the Aldebaran Robotics, a high tech company hosted in Paris focused on the development and production of a humanoid robot.
Aldebaran is a French company founded in 2005 by Bruno Maisonnier, who had the vision that the era of personal robotics is coming. He has been doing a hard work for many years and now a sustainable formula was found to produce a highly customizable robot with a low cost for a large public. Aldebaran produces Nao (video), a robot equipped with digital camera, speech recognition, voice synthesis, Wi-Fi communication, also able to express emotions through colored lights and 25 joints to enable complete freedom of movements. Nao is really cute, as you can see in the picture below.
The big differential between Nao and other competitors is his better cost-benefit. It is the cheapest one on the category of highly customizable humanoid robots. The Nao’s kit includes a software to model the robot’s behavior through a composition of predefined components related with the capabilities of the hardware. Two or more robots are able to communicate through wireless networking, enabling them to interchange movements, detected signals and any other kind of data. It also allows the development of customizable components using C++, Python, Java or any other language supported by the Nokia SDK.
This visit was really exciting. We brought an extensive and excellent feedback to our lab, where we visualize potential applications using our technology integrated with the robot.