Humanoid robots to help with teaching and research in EDA

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) has welcomed three unusual recruits to help with teaching and research projects – Nao humanoid robots.
Nao robots, standing 58cm tall and weighing 5kgs, are interactive, autonomous and fully programmable. Features include the ability to see, hear, speak, feel and communicate, as well as to sense and avoid obstacles. When two Nao meet, they can talk to each other and work collaboratively.
Developed by Aldebaran Robotics, Nao are used in research and education programmes around the world to study, for example, motor skills, balance, vision, language and man-machine interaction. New applications, beyond robotics, are also being discovered, such as treating children with autism, aids for the elderly and in NASA experiments.
Professor Sarah Spurgeon, Head of EDA, commented: ‘Our new robots will be a fun, as well as challenging, way for students to learn about, for example, real-time embedded system development and data-fusion, from sources like cameras, accelerometers, microphones and tactile sensors.’
In 2010, 20 Nao made history by giving the first ever synchronised, autonomous 10- minute performance in public Nao also take part in Robocup, the world’s largest international robotics competition, and EDA is planning to enter a student team in 2012.