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Linux robot promises to “see you soon”

Jan 8, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

A French start-up aiming to create affordable, programmable, autonomous humanoid robots has published several videos of a prototype. In one video, Aldebaran's “Nao” bot waves enthusiastically to the camera, wishing viewers a happy new year and promising to “see you soon,” in French-accented English.

(Click for larger view of Nao bot waving “Happy New Year”)

Aldebaran was founded in early 2005, and emerged from stealth mode last July, when it first revealed sketches of the Nao design. The company hopes to bring many of the capabilities of academic and industrial-grade robotics to consumers and robot hobbyists.

Aldebaran's Nao design stands 21.6 inches tall, and implements 23 degrees of freedom, including gripping hands. It runs Linux and comes with PC software that enables users to control their android remotely, via WiFi. The software will also enable users to program their android's behavior, emotional expressions, speech synthesizer, and other capabilities, or collect data from its onboard video camera and other sensors, Aldebaran says.

Colored lights may express Nao's emotions
(Click to enlarge)

Interestingly, one of the videos shows several lights on the Nao design cycling through various colors. This suggests that the robot could use various light colors to express its emotions, similar to the Violet Dal emotional lamp, another intriguing Linux-based device of French origination.

The third of Aldebaran's four video clips of the Nao robot shows the robot recognizing faces — or at least drawing circles of three different colors around the faces of three people moving around in front of it. The final video shows the small, young Aldebaran engineering team working, juggling, and eating together.

The videos, said to be the “very first video of the Nao Project prototype AL-05,” can be found here. For Linux users, an upgrade to the Flash 9 beta may be required to view them.

More specific technical details about the Nao can be found in our earlier coverage, here.

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