Whoa. I thought Pleo was hot but this thing is out of this world. It’s basically a little walking robot that can see, hear, and recognize you from a distance. Originally designed to help teach autistic children, the Nao is now a fully-featured and surprisingly friendly-looking robot that can walk, play catch, and talk to you. The company, Aldebaran Robotics, updated their original Nao robot, adding a 1.6GHz processor and two HD cameras.
This guy won’t be cheap – he’s a service robot and the movement is so surprisingly smooth that I don’t doubt it will be in the upper thousands when it’s finally available. You can pre-order right now although I suspect that these guys choose you rather than the other way around.
From the press release:
Stemming from six years of research and dialogue with its community of researchers and users, NAO Next Gen is capable of a higher level of interaction, thanks to increased computing power, improved stability and higher accuracy. Therefore, the latest version of the NAO robot widens considerably the range of research, teaching and application possibilities made available to specific user groups.
One of the NAO Next Gen‟s novel and most remarkable features is the fact that it is fitted with a new on-board computer, based on the powerful 1.6GHz Intel® AtomTM processor, which is suitable for multi-tasking calculations. It also has two HD cameras that are attached to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This set-up allows the simultaneous reception of two video streams, significantly increasing speed and performance in face-and-object recognition, even under poor-lighting conditions.
As well as its innovative features with respect to hardware, NAO Next Gen boasts a new, faster and more reliable vocal-recognition programme called Nuance. This programme is coupled with a new functionality known as „word spotting‟, which is capable of isolating and recognizing a specific word within a sentence or a conversation.