NAO is a programmable robot; powered by Intel ATOM processor and having sensors, communication devices, motors, sound devices, and other peripheral components. NAO is developed by Aldebaran Robotics, a French start up company headquartered in Paris.
NAOqi is the core programming framework providing an abstraction layer to program NAO. NAOqi provides core engine supporting parallelism, resources, events, and synchronization. Events framework tightly coupled with sensors, provides reactionary features to NAO to respond to surrounding conditions. NAOqi acts as an integration framework to co-ordinate between visual, audio and motion; core behavior of a robot. This is a cross-platform framework, and support programming on multiple platforms like C++, .Net, Python, etc.
One of the key features of NAO is self protection when it falls. It comes with Fall Manager that keeps a check on center of mass, and any shift into center of mass triggers events like stopping the motion, protective positioning, adjustment of center of mass, and protecting against fall. Not many robots has this feature, making it close to humans.
NAO has got two cameras working in tandem to scan horizon and surrounding. NAO also supports interfacing with open source computer vision library to expand its scope of image processing capabilities.
Human Beings can easily detect which direction the sound is coming from. If a sound is coming from left, it will reach left ear earlier than right ear. Difference is very small, but good enough for our brain to calculate and make a decision for the direction. Similar methodology is embedded into NAO and four microphones receive the sound waves at slightly different times. This difference is calculated by the processor, and NAO ascertains the source of sound system. Very close to human beings!!!
- Official Robot - Robot Soccer World Cup (Robocup)
- 56 cm tall humanoid robot
- Prototypes designed since 2005
- 25 degrees of freedom
There are other sporting robots in research like TOPIO (TOSY Ping Pong Playing Robot), a humanoid robot designed to play ping pong game. TOPIO has 39 degreed of freedom which is higher than NAO, also it weight and measure more than NAO, with height of 1.88 m and weighs 120 kg.