How Is NAO Doing Now!
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 06 February 2022

Despite retaining "his" childlike appearance, at 18 NAO is almost a grown up. A recent paper looks at a decade's worth of Human-NAO Interaction Research which revealed that more than 13,000 NAO robots are used in more than 70 countries around the world.

NAO (pronounced "now") is the autonomous, programmable, humanoid robot created by Bruno Maisonnier that has become one of the standard tools of educational and research robotics. Having embarked on on project Nao in 2004 because he had been enthusiastic about electronics and robots when a teenager, Maisonnier set up Aldeberan, a French company to develop it. This was acquired in 2015 by Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group and rebranded Softbank Robotics.

Nao's early success was to be adopted as the robot used as the Standard Platform robot for RoboCup in 2007. Although at first it was rather clumsy and had a tendency to fall over Nao's football prowess steadily improved. However, Maisonnier also imbued  Nao not only with artificial intelligence to make it responsive to humans but with a vitality and personality that makes human respond to "him".  Nao went from a small start to become one of the standard tools of educational and research robotics.

The cute knee-high robot was first introduced to I Programmer in 2011 at an important milestone in the robot's development. As explained in Nao Strikes a Blow for Robot Independence, it had just been given the ability to seek out and return to its charging station, an important skill for an autonomous robot. Over the period 2011 to 2015 we followed Nao as "he" learned to pick up socks, play Hangman and Connect Four and act as a teaching assistant with autistic children, who were able to relate remarkably well to the kid-sized robot. We were also entertained by Nao playing the Xylophone, learning to dance and improving his footballing skills in successive years RoboCups.

However, after Aldebaran was sold Softbank Nao hasn't been in the limelight and we didn't even cover the latest upgrade to V6 which introduced improvements in many area as outlined in this video from RobotLab

The recent paper by Aida Amirova, Nazerke Rakhymbayeva, Elmira Yadollahi, Anara Sandygulova and Wafa Johal shows that behind the scenes Nao has been busy. In a post on Robohub referring to the study, co-author Wafa Johal reports that:

More than 13,000 NAO robots are used in more than 70 countries around the world. Pretty much every lab working in human-robot interaction research owns a NAO making it the social robot that has been the most used in the history of the field.   

Categories for this study, which looks at the published results of about 300 research projects, included autism therapy, education, elderly care, learning disabilities and entertainment. The paper presents of the strengths of the Nao platform including its affordability with as cost of around 6,000 Euros, and it portability, in that its size and weight make for easy transportation. It also finds that its child-like and non-threatening appearance makes it appealing. 

Four other key insights are worth quoting:

NAO can bring cognitive and affective values when interacting with humans that have social and learning barriers. Although the robot can not replace the key social actors such as therapists and teachers, it can make learning and therapy engaging and fun experience, while educators can focus on creative as well as differentiated teaching practices.

NAO can take on a unique social role of one’s learner. NAO as an educational robot has assisted poorly performing children to engage in a learning activity by taking up a unique social role of their learner. This can positively affect meta-cognitive abilities such as increased self-confidence and problem-solving

NAO can bring cognitive and affective values when interacting with humans that have social and learning barriers. Although the robot can not replace the key social actors such as therapists and teachers, it can make learning and therapy engaging and fun experience, while educators can focus on creative as well as differentiated teaching practices.

NAO could be a great help for individuals who have less social experience and companionship in their life. For instance, in treating dementia and for other elderly care therapies, it could be applied to assist in daily life by monitoring and reminding to take the pills and do physical exercises following a certain plan instructed by medical staff. NAO as a companion may enhance the quality of life that most people expect to enjoy in their later lives.

What I find remarkable about Nao is the way that humans, young and old relate to "him". As discussed in Would You Turn Off A Robot That Was Afraid Of The Dark?, a report on an experiment study in which researchers asked subjects to turn Nao off, people find it difficult to see Nao as a machine but rather respond to the robot as if it was sentient and a real "personality".  

 

nao2022 

More Information

10 Years of Human-NAO Interaction Research: A Scoping Review

Frontiers in Robotics and AI, November 2021

Aida Amirova, Nazerke Rakhymbayeva, Elmira Yadollahi, Anara Sandygulova and Wafa Johal

Related Articles

Would You Turn Off A Robot That Was Afraid Of The Dark?

Nao's Creator Quits Aldebaran As Pepper Goes On Sale

NAO Evolves

NAO Works With Autistic Children

Nao Plays Jingle Bells

Nao Plays Music Like A Human

Robots As Dancers - The Nao Dance Troupe

Nao Walks Alone 

New Nao robot and $15 million investment

Nao Strikes a Blow for Robot Independence    

RoboCup In Its 21st Year

RoboCup 2014 - Are Soccer Robots Making Progress?

 

To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, sign up for our weekly newsletter, subscribe to the RSS feed and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.

Banner


Natives In Tech Accuse Apache Of Cultural Appropriation
13/01/2023

The Apache Software Foundation is being urged to change its name and the names of the projects it hosts by members of Natives In Tech, a collective of Native technologists crafting free and open  [ ... ]



Google Season Of Docs 2023 Announced
20/01/2023

Google Season of Docs allows open source organizations to apply for a grant of between and  $5,000 - $15,000 USD to help improve their documentation. Selected organizations use their grant t [ ... ]


More News

picobook

 



 

Comments




or email your comment to: comments@i-programmer.info

Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 February 2022 )