Meet NAO, Our New Humanoid Friend

Robots are no longer just for geeks, crazy laboratories or far off from our lives, robots like NAO are coming at you whether you are ready or not

The big screens have always portrayed robots living amongst us in the distant future and more often than not, portrayed in an extremely negative light – Take Terminator and I, Robot for examples.

But what if we were to tell you that robots aren’t scary, constantly on killing sprees or wanting to take over the world? Would that change your perception of them?

NAO is a small and adorable little humanoid robot that moves, sees, hears and actually able to communicate with you! NAO is the love child of Aldebaran Robotics, which is an arm of the SoftBank Group. He has been constantly evolving and upgrading since 2006, to essentially be more responsive and in the same way, more human. This is not just your run-of-the-mill humanoid robot that only serves as an entertaining toy of sorts - NAO is more than that, much more.

NAO’s Features

NAO is rather small as compared to the life sized robots. He measures just 57.4cm in height and weighs just 5.4kg, which is impressive given the amount of tech that this little guy packs.

Aside from just looking really cute, NAO has a wide range of notable features. It is able to understand and speak up to 19 different languages ranging from English to Spanish and even Arabic. NAO sees with two front-facing cameras - one on its forehead and one acting as its ‘mouth’. These cameras allow him to locate faces and ‘looks’ at you, if you are speaking to him. One of the future features that Aldebaran is looking at for NAO, include the ability for him to actually recognise its owner or family members.

It receives sounds from its four microphones that are placed on its ‘head’ and speaks with its two laterally built ‘ears’ making this little humanoid quite human-like in its design. It also has infrared sensors and tactile sensors built into him in order to sense touch and ability to walk without crashing into objects.

What Can NAO Do?

There are two sides to NAO, one being a lifestyle entertainment robot of sorts and the other, a medium to which you can programme it to perform certain functions.

To elaborate on this, NAO aids in computer and science classes internationally. He has been used in over 70 countries, ranging from primary schools right through to universities as a medium for education. NAO is able to be programmed to walk, catch small objects and even dance to a particular rhythm. Students are exposed to learning programming codes in an interactive fashion, as they are able to see their written codes work before their eyes.


Not Just A Toy

NAO tackles real-life issues, like comforting children when they are at the doctor. Rxrobots has written a code using NAO as its medium and renamed it as MEDi for this. MEDi mainly helps children manage pain during certain medical procedures, in particular those that involve injections as an example, while giving them a sense of control. In addition, MEDi is also able to play interactive games with the children, engage in a conversation and even play music to distract them from the medical procedure.



By Geralyne Kaye Ong / September 2, 2015 12:40PM GMT+8


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