Tech & Innovation : Aldebaran Robotics
Paris headquartered ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS designs, manufactures and sells the autonomous, programmable, world famous humanoid robot NAO. The robot has received media success worldwide. It was one of the stars at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the Frankfurt motor show in 2013 and in the US television series ‘Eastbound and down’. NAO has also been a major media attraction for CNN, NBC as well as Japanese, South Korean and Brazilian TV.
NAO which is believed to be the best selling humanoid robot in the world is used in 70 countries as a platform for Research and Higher Education. In Warwickshire in the UK it is used in a school for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Programming, etc. [YouTube Chat about News – NAO Education].
In the US at Westport, Connecticut, the public library will introduce a pair of NAO robots in October 2014. Workshops will then be held to teach patrons the NAO software that can be used to expand the capabilities of the robots which can already speak in 19 languages and even do tai chi.
Though it weighs only 5kg, the robot is packed with equipment like inertial sensors to right itself after a tumble; tactile and pressure sensors to touch and feel; ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles; microphones and loudspeakers; infrared in the eyes and wifi for communication; image treatment algorithms for face detection and recognition, etc. The fully programmable computer on board with its open source software means that programmers worldwide will be free to modify or enhance the source code.
Bruno Maisonnier, the founder and CEO of ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS wants his company to be open to the world and contribute to the well-being of humans. NAO robots are used in schools to improve the communication skills of autistic children. They are also being used in Alzheimer’s treatment.
ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS’ R&D is anchored in Paris where it finds its top class engineers. It has welcomed capital investment from outside France. The investment comes from SoftBank, the Japanese telecom operator which for the moment has a majority stake in it. In exchange SoftBank is helping ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS financially in developing its latest robot, PEPPER. With a rapidly ageing population and a contracting labor force Japan needs to develop its personal assistance services using robots like PEPPER which deciphers human emotions and is designed for companionship. Initially the robot is to be used in the Japanese company’s Telecom shops to welcome and entertain customers.
Sources : wsj.com, theverge.com, roboticsbusinessreview.com, Bfm business
Online publishing, October 06th, 2014